Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Sad Movie that Puts a Smile on My Face

A Single Man
Directed By Tom Ford


This is a film about a gay man named George, played by Colin Firth, who loses meaning in his life after the loss of his partner. Because Tom Ford, wrote, directed, and produced this film his signature style jumps off the screen. The way he handles the subject matter its obvious he is a fashion designer, but it also feels like the story is personal for him. This film is so stylized I couldn't help but notice all of the subtleties that foreshadow its unfolding events. Everything about it from the music, the cinematography to the production design looked and felt like they were pieces of painting. The fashion alone felt like an additional character. Ford also uses color saturation to emphasize George's mood. Towards the end of the film this felt a little redundant but was an important tool to help tell the story. The musical score almost made if feel operatic, but the moments that weren't accompanied by music are brilliantly simplistic.

The first two scenes alone would earn Colin Firth an Oscar win. Without his incredible acting the film might have been a little too perfect. Julianne Moore held her own along side Firth's powerful performance, but it was the role of Kenny, played by Nicholas Hoult that really held the film together. Hoult has come a long way from the quirky little boy we all loved in About a Boy (2002). Kenny is a young college student with an infatuation with George. He represents innocence, life and love and perhaps for George, a younger version of himself. He says one of my favorite lines in the film.

"I mean we're born alone, we die alone. And while we're here we are absolutely, completely sealed in your own bodies. Really weird. Kinda freaks me out to think about it. We can only experience the outside world through our own slanted perception of it. Who knows what you're really like. I just see what I think you're like."

A lot of movies like this one have a tendency to be too obscure, but Ford gently guides you through this film without being condescending. Too bad I didn't see this film before my top ten films of 2009 list, because this would have been my number one pick.


  1. Do you know what follows "all the world's a stage" and by whom? Shakespeare. "all the world's a stage, and all the men and women are players. They have their exits and entrances. Each man in his time plays many parts. First the babe, mewling and puking in its nurse's arms." Go to Shakespeare and find out which play it was in and how it goes from birth to the end of life.

  2. Saw the movie Friday by myself. So cinemetographically (whew) beautiful. I love how the last day of his life completely opened up to him and he opened up to it. We have that opportunity every day if we will just look for it. Thanks for the recommendation.