Movie Review: A Single Man

Movie Review: A Single Man

Summary: Set in the 1960s, a gay man is suicidal after the death of his partner of 16 years.

Published December 9, 2009

a-single-manSummary : Set in the 1960s, a gay man is suicidal after the death of his partner of 16 years. Based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood , the movie follows the day of a mourning man who is preparing to end his life.

Review : A Single Man is from first-time director Tom Ford , who is the legendary fashion designer and once creative force behind Gucci , which has been worn by folks like Beyonce , Jennifer Lopez and Rihanna . There is a little hesitation when thinking of a fashion designer turned filmmaker, and while the movie has incredible style, I wouldn't have known A Single Man was by a first-time director. The flick glows with detail, structure, beauty and most importantly, a heart.

For those who are concerned about a politically charged movie, A Single Man has no political agenda; it tells a subtle story about life after massive loss. Placed in the '60s, there are no cries for gay marriage or marches on Washington for equal rights. With a commanding performance from the lead, Colin Firth , who plays the grieving partner, anyone who has lost a loved one can relate. Firth's haunting delivery reads deeps in his eyes and the lines on his face. He is the life-force in a film that could've easily wallowed in melodrama.

There is a campy and humorous performance from Julianne Moore , a woman who is dealing with the struggles of an aging but once beautiful woman. Moore eases up the sadness with her dark eyeliner, big hair and a drink in her hand.

That said, A Single Man is overstocked with downtime. Yes, everything does tie together but there are moments that are stuffed with filler. The 99 minutes could've easily been an hour.  Furthermore, Ford should’ve considered developing the supporting characters a bit more, giving as much polish to the script as was given to the look of A Single Man .

Nonetheless, humanizing performances and the careful sentimental craftsmanship from Tom Ford helps A Single Man transcend sexuality. It's unclear if this was Ford's intention, but in the way that Lee Daniels has transcended race with Precious or Chris Rock made Good Hair funny beyond gender, Mr. Gucci has told a story where you can leave your politics at the concession stand. This is the year of films going outside of the social box.

A Single Man opens in select cities Friday, December 11th.

Written by Clay Cane


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