“A SINGLE MAN” (Colin Firth & Julianne Moore)
Viewed the same day as ‘Crazy Heart’, I expected to enjoy this film, but I didn’t.
I liked the premise – a gay man living in the early 60’s is despondent over his lover’s death & spends the day contemplating suicide. Having a family member take his own life when I was younger, I thought I’d be able to relate to this film – but I didn’t.
If I were gay, would I have been able to relate to these characters? Well, if any gay readers saw this film & found it interesting, intriguing or entertaining, I’d like to hear why?
This was Tom Ford’s first film & it shows – he doesn’t know how to tell a story thru film. Throughout the entire movie I was extremely annoyed by the multiple extreme close-ups that were used – Scene after scene contained an actors head filling the entire screen – it took away the sense of realism – it was... invading and it detracted from the story, as well as cheapening the actors' performances.
Colin Firth plays teacher George Falconer; a gay man who has to hide his sexual preference because he’s an Englishman living in 1962 America during the Cuban missile crisis. Through flashbacks we learn that George’s lover, Jim, died in an automobile accident(Along with one of his dogs) When George sees a woman with a dog that looks similar to Jim’s he sticks his head inside the woman’s car window & wipes his nose on the poor animal’s fur. I found this a little difficult to swallow as most dogs would not ‘allow’ a stranger to put their hand inside the car let alone his entire head (Which seemed HUGE thanks to the extreme close ups)
This is the day George is going to end his miserable life, though he encounters nothing but young, attractive gay men who want to have an encounter with him... so why is George suicidal?
Julianne Moore plays ‘Charley’ (Charlotte) George’s oldest & dearest friend – at first her cockney accent seemed forced & unnatural, but either it grew on me, or Moore’s vocal coach helped her to tone it down as filming progressed. Charley laughs way too loudly & much too often over nothing (She’s practically in hysterics as she & George ‘twist’ to Booker T & The MG’s “Green Onions”)
When George neared the end of the day & I tried to become interested in his plight, as well as hope to learn something about what drives a person to commit such an act, he & one of his male students go skinny dipping... Okay... what bothered me was the swelling orchestral music that accompanied this scene – it was making what should have been an innocent scene of two poofters splashing each others privates seem like the most poignant, dramatic scene of the film... Problem is - it was just two poofters swimming in the nude!
I wanted to see this with ‘Crazy Heart’ because Bridges & Firth have been prominently mentioned as Best Actor candidates; Bridges should win in a landslide then because Firth really doesn’t bring much to the table here. Odd coincidences run through both films though – there’s hardly a scene in either film in which someone isn’t smoking or drinking alcohol or both; & each lead actor ends up with a cut on his forehead in the same spot!
There is a significant age difference in the two pairs of lovers in both films, but the Single Man’s coupling with a male student, who doesn’t look old enough to shave, is rather off-putting (& it’s not because they’re gay – I didn’t wince when Heath ram-rodded Jake in that tent scene... Well, okay, maybe I vomited a little, but it’s not that I disapprove of the lifestyle, I just don’t want to witness what goes on behind closed doors)
Bridges’ Bad Blake is a sarcastic a**hole, but I loved the character.
Firth’s George Falconer is a sweet guy with a broken heart, but other than crawling into a sleeping bag to shoot himself so he doesn’t make a mess, he really doesn’t do anything interesting.
I was disappointed with “A Single Man” because the way it was shot made it difficult to watch – I turned to my wife afterward & said, “What a load of rubbish!” & I said that, not because it was an awful film, but it had a lot of potential & Tom Ford blew it (If you’ll pardon the expression)