Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Single Man

A Single Man has got to be one of my very favorite movies of all time. Brilliantly directed by designer, Tom Ford, the movie was set in Los Angeles in the 1960s and featured Collin Firth and Julianne Moore in the leading roles. The movie tells the story of a day in the life of George Falconer, a British professor, who plans on ending his life after tying up all the loose ends of his livelihood. George is filled with emptiness after having lost his long-time lover in a tragedy-ridden car accident and feels that there is simply nothing left to live for. Throughout the day, he admires every small moment, thinking that it will be the last time that he will experience them. The film is also beautifully framed with several flashbacks referring to memorable moments spent with his deceased partner, Jim. The movie is exquisitely filmed and is absolutely riddled with symbolism, metaphors and irony. Also, the costuming was very well done and fitted perfectly with the time period. Ford transformed a simple black and white suit into something amazing and managed to make Julianne Moore look even more stunning than she did already.

Colin Firth as George
One of the major themes in the movie is youth and George’s lack thereof. The viewers are constantly reminded of this in scenes where he refers to Charlie (Julianne Moore), an ex-lover and best friend, as “kiddo” and she always retorts by calling him “old man”. When George finally embraces what youth is left in him near the end of the film, he takes a racy skinny-dipping adventure with his student and admirer and ends up hitting his head when a violent wave over comes him, displaying his true emotional and physical fragility. This theme of youth and fragility is also mirrored in George’s relationship with Jim as well as in one of the opening scenes when he watches a little boy shred a monarch butterfly.

Julianne Moore as Charlie
The details that Ford snuck into the movie are simply remarkable. Whenever George notices something beautiful, we notice a boost in the colour saturation on screen that is then reflected onto him. Whether it be a pair of sweaty tennis players, a secretary’s eyes, a little girl’s smile or a gorgeous young Spanish man, we see the scene as well as George’s expression, illuminate. These short moments play a vital role in his decision to abstain from killing himself.  I found the clothing particularily interesting since it played very well on the character's personalities: George very maticulously wears his classic, tailored suit and Charlie looks gorgeous in a black and white fitted, floor length dress with a cape-like back. This dress reinforced the notion of Charlie having so much but so little at the same time. 

In A Single Man, viewers observe Ford’s intense attention to detail that he uses when designing, projected onto film in order to create something truly incredible and breathtaking that broke social homophobic barriers and inspired thousands of people. 

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