“A Single Man” Show

Genres: Drama and Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hr. 39 min.
Release Date: December 11th, 2009 (limited); December 25th (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for some disturbing images and nudity/sexual content.
Distributors: The Weinstein Company

Directed by: Tom Ford

JJ Rating: A+

George (Colin Firth) was in love with Jim (Matthew Goode) for many, many years. They spent a lot of time together and had a loving relationship. A phone call informing George that Jim died in a car accident sets George on a weird journey though how he had felt and how he feels. A Single Man.

Apparently to play a gay man you have to be “light in your loafers” so to speak. There are subtle changes in how Firth and Goode act in this film and how they acted in other films. There’s a slight softness added to the voice. More flow in movement almost as if graceful like a woman but not too much because gay or not a man has a certain way they move as well. It’s hard for me to explain but it is noticeable and amazingly weird to realize. I sat there and was taking note on what Firth had changed so he could show (instead of just say) that he was gay. This is why he is nominated for an Oscar. That physical aspect of him being able to show he’s gay without anyone out right saying it is pretty cool for acting. At the beginning when he finds out that he lost Jim he sits in his chair and stares into nothing and for about 3 minutes the camera just looks him in the face and slowly Firth’s eyes well up with tears. It is a moving moment that I don’t think I’ve seen done like that. Firth is amazing. A-mazing.

Goode shows a touching range in this film. He’s not in it but for a few minutes via flashbacks and I totally forget about Leap Year. He makes Jim believable in such a short amount of time. Julianne Moore is an emotionally trashy woman who has too much time on her hands. She is Charley George’s best friend. She does a good job. Nicholas Hoult plays a student named Kenny and his flirtatiousness does not just stay on the screen. It permeates the theater and made me feel like I was being hit on.

Speaking of flirty the way Tom Ford uses camera angles I swear he was flirting with the audience himself. Close ups here, butts there, slow speech, a look, a smile, a glint in the eye, lips releasing smoke ever so carefully…everything that he shows in this film is a way to tease and flirt with the audience in ways I’ve never really seen a film do. I felt like I was invading someone’s private moments in their own head.

Then there was the use of color. This is what sets movies apart from books and when a film is an adaptation of a book it’s important to use what a movie has in order to set it apart from the book in a good way. George would feel terrible or down and the colors that showed on the screen would reflect that. It wouldn’t go to black and white but there was a less vibrant look to the colors when he felt that way. The colors were very monotone. When he felt good or someone was around that he liked the colors shot off the screen like fireworks. I loved it. I cannot believe that Ford gets shafted in the Best Picture category as well as Best Director. He deserves to be there far more than James Cameron for Avatar. If you are into being a director you need to see A Single Man and you need to take notes because if he was one of the nominated directors I wouldn’t hesitate a single moment to say he deserves to win.

Admittedly A Single Man is not a film I would want to see via the description. I knew it was going to be about a homosexual relationship. I read the word partner and that was enough to know. The description avoided saying gay or homosexual and I know some people that would see the film and be shocked by what they were seeing because they didn’t realize it (my grandparents mistaken wanting to see Brokeback Mountain because of a mute button and a total misunderstanding of the plot.). I saw it because Colin Firth was nominated and I wanted to see it to see if he did a great job and if Jeff Bridges would still be uber awesome in my mind afterwards. Yes Jeff Bridges still deserves to win Best Actor, but Firth was really good and if he happens to win I will not be sad.

I learned that if the actor is fantastic then what an audience should feel because the story dictates the audience will feel it. Of course the director has a massive role in the feeling as well but I’m still gushing over Firth. I learned that there is so many ways to show you’re interested in someone that it can be shown without ever having either character say a single phrase that would indicate they liked one another out right.

A Single Man was incredible with it’s subtle and flirtatious manner it was shown. There’s no action, there’s no sex and there’s no melodramatic mess. It’s a very, very good movie. It is a rarity that I would give a movie an A+ and have no intention on ever owning it or seeing it again, but A Single Man is not only an awesome title, it’s an awesome movie. It’s a movie that should be on a movie lover’s list of things to see. It’s good stuff.

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