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A Single Man

May 5, 2011

A Single Man (2009)
Director: Tom Ford
Actors: Colin Firth, Nicholas Hoult, Julianne Moore

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Synopsis: A college professor in 60s LA contemplates suicide as he goes about his daily affairs.

Review: This highly moving tale of a suicidal man taking one last look at his life over the course of a single day, gets the full stylistic artillery from its fashionista-turned-director, Tom Ford. Ford’s prime tactic is to make A Single Man an exercise in aesthetics, and in almost every sense that’s permissible, because his use of expressionistic cinematography (slo-mo, beautiful lighting) and decorous mise en scene (the tailoring and design of the 60s LA lifestyle is pitch-perfect) draws out the emotion of the story in contrast to Colin Firth’s necessarily reticent performance at the centre of it. Firth really does a fantastic job in the film – a more demonstrative actor would have played into the poignancy of the narrative and Ford’s powerful direction – but Firth is his usual restrained self, which makes his gradual humanisation and renaissance by the film’s close an immensely ‘felt’ experience. Ford himself shows a lot of promise for his directorial debut – as a renowned fashion designer, his film has a fantastic look and unsurprisingly the elements of costume and interior design are to the fore. It’s unfair to label A Single Man though as simply an extension of Ford’s stylistic concerns, as he never loses sight of how those aesthetics play into the ethos of the story, and with a little help from old stagers like Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, plus an exceptional turn from Nicholas Hoult, he steers A Single Man to a moving and thought-provoking climax. (May 2011)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Pauline permalink
    May 9, 2011 6:03 pm

    Such an excellent review doing justice to an excellent film.

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