Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Single Man (Tom Ford, 2009)

     Ah, A Single Man, now undoubtedly one of my favorite movies. I'm just shocked that such a beautiful film could come from the hands of a fashion designer with no prior foray into the world of cinema. Aesthetically, the film is visual orgasm. The unexpected but enriching slow motion sequences, the vivid use of colors, the close ups focusing mostly on the eye all communicate enough to the viewer that we are, briefly, able to glance into the soul of the film's main character, George Falconer.George Falconer (Colin Firth) is an English professor at a university. He is still in mourning over the loss of his partner of 16 years Jim (Matthew Goode) in a car accident that claimed his life nearly a year ago. The film unfolds over the course of a single day as throughout George attempts to reconnect with the world around him, whether it be with his long-time friend and once sexual partner Charley (a flawless Julianne Moore), a random prostitute near a drug store, or an over-eager student.

   In retrospect, I realize now that I cannot give too much away from the plot, so I've cut a lot from what I originally wrote. This is because I didn't realize George's ultimate goal until about halfway through the movie and would hate to spoil it for anybody else, however crucial it is to the plot. Or maybe I'm dumb and just failed to pick up on certain details in the story. Suffice to say that after viewing A Single Man, you will walk away feeling some sort of way. I hope. You may think it is over-indulging or a masterpiece. I fall into the latter category. Either way, you will be forced to contemplate existential questions that the film refuses to provide the answer to. It is up to you to form your own conclusion.
   The acting in this film is top-notch. Colin Firth has never been better, not even in the just-okay The King's Speech. Julianne Moore never fails to disappoint. It is astounding how many fantastic movies she has been in and has constantly delivered. She will win an Oscar within the next five years. Mark my words. She should have definitely been nominated for one in this movie given the tidal wave of emotions she surfs on throughout. From just a silly good fun friend to a relentless seductress and then to a self-pitying sad sack. It's a performance to behold. However, it pales in comparison to Firth's performance, which is the life source on which the film thrives. Firth's George is incredibly humane. He is not out to make us like him or feel sympathy for him. He shows us the real man behind the mask, something he is unable to actually do to the fullest with the people around him. The audience is the only one able to get a glimpse into who the man really is and Firth holds nothing back.
    I could also talk about the fantastic soundtrack, but I'm confident that the images, story and acting performances alone make this movie an understated success. A shame that Tom Ford has yet to direct another film. This film may be simple in its plot, but the questions it poses and the images now ingrained in your head are all the more complex.

Ludovico Rating

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