[Film Review] A Single Man (2009)

A Single Man poster

Title: A Single Man
Year: 2009
Country: UK
Language: English
Genre: Drama
Director: Tom Ford
Screenwriters: Tom Ford, David Scearce
based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood
Music: Abel Korzeniowski
Cinematography: Eduard Grau
Colin Firth
Julianne Moore
Nicholas Hoult
Matthew Goode
Jon Kortajarena
Ginnifer Goodwin
Lee Pace
Aline Weber
Ryan Simpkins
Rating: 8.4/10

A Single Man 2009

I have been looking forward to watching this film for almost one year (since last year’s Venice Festival), soon afterwards I became a little bit apprehensive, too many lessons learned from precedent experience have proved that the higher my expectation is, the higher possibility of disappointment would occur. Luckily now I can get some relief since I am standing firmly on the love side of this polarized film.

The story took place in a single day in 60’s, a gay professor decided to commit suicide as his long-time partner died in a car accident, the content is rather thin even given the fact that the whole film only lasts 99 minutes, the whole keynote is gloomy, but it manages to blow my mind with a sharpened perspective of life and death, how to choose a path to consume our remaining days, the sentimental pathos is strong and powerful here, thankfully by a marvelous performance from Colin Firth, which is affecting and shows genuine nuance to perfect his role (for example the scenes where he gets to know the bad news by phone, a tour-de-force interpretation one could ever imagine). Colin’s new film THE KING’S SPEECH seems to on its way to be the biggest award harvest in the coming Oscar, I am eager to see if this time Mr. Darcy could finally get his due Oscar (actually I should shut myself up as I haven’t seen CRAZY HEART yet).

As for my goddess Moore, she ushers a difficult supporting role within her limited screen time, which potentially manifests her character’s both repulsive and sympathetic two-sides. By the way, it is a truly supporting role (I heard Maggie Gyllenhaal should be lead in CRAZY HEART, shut up again), but this year, please push Moore in lead (THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT), it will be ridiculous if she goes supporting, there have been too many ludicrous examples in Oscar before (to name a few, Jamie Foxx in COLLATERAL, Catherine Zeta-Jones in CHICAGO, Jake Gyllenhaal in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN).

Words get around, I am not a fashion pursuer, so I had no idea of Tom Ford’s background before he made his debut film (I feel so ashamed of myself, that’s why I bought a copy of MILK today, make a frantic last-minute effort to be trendy and chic). But the stunning shots (over-saturated color) and overflowing slow-motions do imitate a tone of Wang Kai-Wei. As a matter of fact, the gay theme only serves as a set piece to attract more attention, if the story changes into A SINGLE WOMAN, I think it is also feasible but less tasty. However as his feature debut, Tom Ford has done an excellent job to make a short novel into a charming while touching film prose, though it can not cater for all audience’s criterion, but who would expect a gay-themed film could do so!

5 thoughts on “[Film Review] A Single Man (2009)

  1. Pingback: [Last Film I Saw] Gorillas in the Mist « A Breathless Trail

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