A Single Man
- Colin Firth as George Falconer
- Julianne Moore as Charley
- Nicholas Hoult as Kenny
- Matthew Goode as Jim
An emotionally rich and soulful debut from fashion supremo Tom Ford, A Single Man is a film not to be missed, as it delves into themes of grief, contemplation and love.
It is 1962; George Falconer is a gay British professor living in California, who lost his partner Jim to a car accident eight months ago. His grief is very strong and he just attempts to get through the days, which is becoming more and more difficult as life without Jim is completely unbearable in George’s eyes. A Single Man unravels across a sole day in which George is faced with a decision that could be final. George is so haunted by the memories he shared with this soul mate that on the day in which the film takes place, he is contemplating suicide to end his suffering. Throughout the day, he comes into contact with many people who populate his life and could potentially sway his decision of committing suicide. There is his boozy friend Charley, who he once had a relationship with but she is now somewhat lonely and craving any sort of attention and love. We also have Kenny, one of George’s students who pines for his professor’s attentions after hearing him give a rousing lecture which is different from his usual style of teaching. Through these respective meetings, George starts to see things differently for possibly the very first time since losing Jim. But will any of these encounters or events truly persuade George that he should go on with life, instead of ending it all?
Tom Ford, in what was his debut as a director, suffuses A Single Man with both beauty(gorgeous black and white flashbacks of happier time with Jim ) and wealth of emotion(George’s morning routine of putting his clothes on in an armour like fashion, while he narrates his struggle of presenting himself). Ford is a visionary to be sure, but his greatest talent lies in his exploration of the central character’s journey and seating us right at the heart of it, giving us the full clout of it all. Also worthy of note is the way that sexuality is resented in A Single Man. The setting is the 60’s when homosexuality was still a taboo and while there are coded references to this knowledge, the character of George is presented in a very matter of fact way. His romance with Jim is shown with the respect and love of any other relationship in movies, which is how it should be. Kudos to Tom Ford for displaying he relationship like this and not sensationalizing it. The premise of A Single Man sounds like a real downer and yes it does have an air of sorrow throughout, but it also feels very alive and vibrant as George considers opening up to possibilities and beauty in the world, just as he does battle with thoughts of ending it all. The stupendous cinematography clearly enriches this, capturing the grey parts of George’s world that quite literally become golden when he opens his eyes to life’s possibilities the last time in his life. Colour is key is this film and it just adds another layer of sophistication and beauty to this moving story that refuses to let go of you once it has pulled you in. The visuals have to be some of the best that I’ve seen in a movie for a while, because of powerfully they accentuate the narrative and drive the events along with scrupulous depth. A powerful music score evinces the emotions at play with degrees of shaded nuance to them. The score is sublimely conducted and matches events with nary a wasted note present.
Colin Firth is astonishingly fantastic in a role that fits him like one of the character’s suits. He is a master of restraint and burrows quietly into the devastation and contemplation of George. He is put quite simply, a marvel in the part of stoic sadness and rumination that reveals so much with the tiniest of gestures. Firth has rarely been better than he is here and this for me is a defining role for him that I won’t forget in a hurry. Julianne Moore provides sterling support acting as the drunken party girl, who covers her crushing loneliness with bravado while still carrying a torch for George, despite knowing that nothing will come of it. Nicholas Hoult sensitively stars as the love struck student who wants his professor to open up more and makes the character quite sweet and supportive in the long run. Matthew Goode plays the deceased partner of George’s in vivid flashbacks with a charm and ease that it isn’t hard to grasp why George’s world is falling apart without his shining light.
A deeply moving and sensuous piece of cinema, A Single Man brings out a whole array of thoughts that leaves you feeling so many different things. Anchored by the composed work of Colin Firth, A Single Man is a beautifully rendered and haunting film that grips and moves you in every conceivable way.