ONLINE EXCLUSIVE! First look at A Single Man

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE! First look at A Single Man

A Single Man
(Starring Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Nicholas Hoult)


“I feel as if I’m drowning,” the grieving man confides in us at the beginning of A Single Man.
There’s a pain etched on Colin Firth’s face that makes the strongest impression.  This British professor’s dapper style, his outward struggles for order and perfection, cannot cover up his loss.  Even though the man feels he can’t talk to his friends and coworkers about the death of the love of his life (Goode), Firth is the walking wounded—a person whose devastation is completely ignored or dismissed by the fashionable but homophobic world around him.
ASingleMan2_142683319.jpgClothing designer Tom Ford makes his directorial debut with a supremely stylish and captivating film based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood (I Am a Camera).  This elegant and subtle story speaks directly to our LGBT population fighting for marriage rights and equality.  However, it does so in a totally heartfelt and personal way, reminding us of the closets of last century and the losses that were borne in silence.
“If I died right now, it’d be okay,” Firth’s lover Goode once said, smiling at the contented life he led with the professor.
“But it wouldn’t be okay with me,” Firth responds.  And it’s not; it never is.
Eight months ago, the professor got a call from his partner’s family, explaining that Goode was killed in a car accident.  Firth is also told that the funeral will be for family members, meaning: not him.  After nearly a year of emotional agony, Firth plans to teach one last literature class at his LA college.  Then he’ll go about ordering his life, so that the few people left behind can put his affairs in order after he commits suicide.
Late in the evening, Firth makes a last visit to an old friend (Moore) who wishes she and he could’ve been more.  The scenes with Moore are gut-wrenching; she’s a chic but alcoholic English expatriate lost in her own wants and needs.  She can never understand Firth homosexuality, so she never fully fathoms his deep depression.
This film has been slightly criticized for Tom Ford’s heavy use of style—careful art direction and a sweeping musical score (which sounds as if it were inspired by Sirk melodramas like Imitation of Life).  Yet, it seems that overt style is an armor that the professor has formulated to protect himself, both as a gay man and as a widower.  His world is cold and slick, angular and grey; when someone or something gives Firth a momentary reason to live, Ford fills the screen with warmth and music, saturates his world with color.
Finally, the acting is painfully beautiful.  Moore is wonderful, but Firth is legendary.  His portrayal is so multi-layered, it begs for repeated viewing.  Firth, Moore and Ford make A Single Man extraordinary, a film which aches for recognition of our relationships and, when tragedy occurs, respect for our losses.


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