A Single Man
If that sounds depressing, believe me, it is. Filled with raw emotion and clever camera work by director Tom Ford, A Single Man is a film not meant for the weak soul or those with moralistic judgment. It contains the surviving half of a gay male couple who feels lost in this world without his soulmate of sixteen years. The entire film revolves around a possible suicide, and the process that one goes through to clean up their own mess. It is sad, it is heartbreaking, but most of all, the film is raw and realistic.
The story, though rather simple, carries a unique tone and feel. Credit director Tom Ford for his ability to capture the shots needed to translate such a powerful story into a masterful work of cinema art, as the angles and close-up shots give the film an artistic approach. The colors are dark and dreary, representing both the mood and vintage-take on the time period in which the movie is set, which effectively consumes the reader. But, in all reality, the story does little besides set the stage for three of the best acting performances of the year, given at the hands of Colin Firth, Julianne Moore and Matthew Goode.
Thinking back, I am not sure if there was ever a scene without Colin Firth's George. Showing only a day in the life of this potentially suicidal man causes for much to occur during a short time, and the film benefits greatly from it. Without the down times, the film never loses your interest. Instead, you find yourself transfixed within the actions of our lead protagonist as he works his way throughout his day, clearing out his bank account, buying a bottle of gin and saying farewell to his lady friend down the street.
And speaking of his lady friend, that role goes to Julianne Moore who is easily the most underused actor in the entire film. Her character of Charlie is a weird one, and her dinner with George is anything but normal; however, her chemistry with Firth is simply undeniable as their lone scene together flows evenly all the way through. Their dialogue interchanges are nearly flawless as they each carry a persona as if they have both known each other for years.
The same goes for Matthew Goode, an up and coming British actor who scores high marks for his work as Jim. Granted his only work is shown through a series of flashbacks, but his interactions with Firth are truly remarkable as they set the stage for a real love affair that is not only believable to the eye, but to the inner sense as well. It was an amazing revelation, one that I haven't felt in a very long time for any onscreen couple.
The ending of the film comes at you unexpectedly. At first I was angry at how everything just came to a screeching halt, but on my drive home, I began to understand the meaning of the film and its reasons for taking such a harsh course of action. At the same time, I began to realize just how brilliant the film was. I cared for these characters, for their well-being and their relationships. I longed for their safe escape through life, and prayed that George would make the decision to live. I haven't felt that way in a long time, which only credits the actors further for their work brought me into the story, allowing me to share in this heart-trying adventure.