I received a free ticket for two to view A Single Man for today’s session – it’s a movie that intrigued me as it is Tom Ford’s directorial debut. Colin Firth is also nominated for the Best Actor for the 2010 Academy Awards and I have just read that he has won the top honours for the best actor at the 2010 BAFTA. Contrary to Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire where I felt that my expectations were not fully met after I left the cinema, A Single Man left me thinking – which is always a good sign. I went to see it with Yani and we got to discuss the movie at the end – she questioned the ending to which I replied that it was one of the reasons why I loved arthouse and world movies – life does not always concludes in nicely packaged happy endings.
The movie is about George Falconer (Colin Firth), a gay professor in English who cannot overcome the death of his lover eight months earlier. He meticulously plans his death, by saying goodbye to his longtime friend Charlotte (Julianne Moore) and getting things in order at work and with his finances. At the eleventh hour he realises that life isn’t too bad at all because of the events that transpire during the day. However, life has its way in throwing a curve ball at the end of the day …
It’s a surprisingly mature movie for a ‘freshman’ director – I suppose Mr Ford’s years as a designer has really sharpened his sense of style and details. The movie is stylish and the 1960’s feel that permeates the movie does not feel phoney at all. He uses various media to convey the emotions within the movie: the graininess of the film or the different colour saturation for various moments in the movie. After the death of his lover, scenes with George are drained of colours almost to the point of various shades of black, white, grey and beige – however, when he interacts with other people, such as with Kenny, a student who is infatuated with him, the saturation level is increased.
The conversations in the movie are also witty and ‘beautiful’ – George’s lecture on ‘Fear’ at the university alone is worth listening to. There is a memorable line uttered by one of the characters in the movie, “Sometimes awful things have their own kind of beauty”. Now that is a deep and meaningful statement. I’m not sure whether they are also in the original novel by Christopher Isherwood or not.
The music is also used very well to sharpen the emotions without it being too sentimental or melodramatic. I recognised Shigeru Umebayashi’s distinctive music as part of the soundtrack and I was proven right when I checked it at home. He contributed to Abel Korzeniowsk’s musical direction for the movie. There’s even a trace of Wong-Kar Wai in the movie – the graininess, the 1960’s period, the haunting music – the same ingredients resulting in a different scrumptious dish under Tom Ford’s direction. I think I’m going to hunt the soundtrack to this movie …
Colin Firth really deserves the BAFTA and is a real contender for the 2010 Academy Awards. I would recommend this movie to anybody who enjoys a soul-searching, well-thought movie.