Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Single Man

Movie Review: A Single Man

Director: Tom Ford

Reviewed: 31 July 2010

jamesintexas rating--***1/2

Tom Ford's A Single Man is a luscious, color-infused or color-deprived marvel with a phenomenal lead performance from Colin Firth, who was rightfully nominated for Best Actor. Firth stars as Professor Falconer, a closeted gay man in the early 1960's (Cuban Missile Crisis looms on the televisions and radios, bomb shelters are discussed seriously) who experiences, suffers the loss of his long time partner of sixteen years, Jim, to a fatal car crash. As the film progresses, it becomes more and more apparent what Tom is experiencing without it being spelled out or a needless narration or obvious exposition characters.

Falconer's movements, studied and careful, are as precise as his words. He studies his neighbors from his bathroom; he selects his clothing with thought and care. As he journeys through his day, Ford flashes back to important moments in Falconer's relationship history, ripping him away from the day-to-day tedium of a classroom discussion or conversation.

Ford's work builds over the course of the film, as light and intensity vary depending on the emotions of a scene. In a conversation between Falconer and, say, a student, both will be shot in medium or tight close-ups, but in the interplay between both, the light and color will be dramatically different, emphasizing Falconer's detachment and the student's vibrancy.

There's much, much more to say about this film, but I will end with being incredibly moved and compelled. I could not take my eyes off of this film, and I feel that it will reward a second viewing. Powerful filmmaking and a director to watch.

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