The other night I Finally saw Tom Ford’s debut movie offering ‘A Single Man’. I wasn’t expecting much it has to be said. It would be a couple of hours that were no more than style over content, I was sure of that. And there was style a plenty. Sharp suits, beautiful people, moody flash backs. Everything had that Mid Century Modern stamp on it. It looked good enough to watch with the sound off. But doing that would have been a tragedy.
A Single Man, based on the book of the same name by Christopher Isherwood, is set in paranoia fuelled days of the Cuban missile crisis during 1962. George Falconer (Colin Firth) is an expat English professor, now living in Los Angeles, who is struggling to come to terms with the loss of his partner. The weight of Falconers unbearable sadness permeates the entire film. I say that like it’s a bad thing, but it isn’t. There’s no doubt from the viewers perspective that Falconer intends to end his loneliness by taking his own life. This opinion might be reached from witnessing his interaction with those around him. Perhaps it’s because he appears to be getting his affairs in order. Or perhaps it’s that he buys bullets for his old revolver. Yes, that would be the give away.
But his attempts to shoot himself are thwarted by his obsessive compulsiveness, a scene which adds a little light heartiness to the melancholy. As the day unfolds (the story unfolds over a 24 hour period) we see falconer’s interaction with others. Carlos, a Spanish prostitute, Kenny, one of Falconers students and Charley an ex lover and confidant played by Julianne Moore. By the end of that day, you get the impression that suicide might now be the second, if not the last thing on Falconers mind. Unfortunately the fates have other plans.
Perfectly cast, perfectly paced and perfectly adapted from the source. I urge you to see this.
Oh, and Colin Firth dances only marginally better than he sings.