Movie #7: A Single Man

A bit of a change of pace, A Single Man is the Oscar-nominated (best actor nod for Colin Firth) drama directed by fashion designer Tom Ford (movie-goers will know him as the Man Who Dressed James Bond). Naturally, I expected something stylish, with everyone impeccably dressed, filmed at interesting camera angles, each shot a potential fashion poster. I wasn’t far wrong in that every scene looked carefully styled. The clothing was elegantly retro (since the film is set in the 60s), with skinny black ties on all the men, perfect beehives and eyelashes on all the women, and everything colour-coordinated. There were probably more closeups per minute than your average movie, and long pans across many of the outfits. The problem with all that cosmetic appeal is that it can sometimes take away from a viewer’s emotional engagement with the story or characters. In this case, it started out that way. There was really not much story. Firth played an English professor at a college in LA whose life-partner had died in a car accident. He spends the day remembering various moments that they shared and replaying certain images in his mind as he tries to go through what appears to be a very mundane day. However, as you realize that he’s planning to end the day with his own suicide, a kind of melancholy and emotional weight falls over his encounters throughout the day with a student, his best friend (played by Julianne Moore), the family next door, and an attractive stranger. Firth’s performance is subtle and engaging. Nicholas Hoult (as Firth’s student, Kenny) has the makings of a young Leonardo DiCaprio. (3.5 out of 5)

7 down, 43 to go!


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