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A Single Man

March 3, 2010

Spoilers ahead.  You’ve been warned…

So The Man was working on a project tonight and wanted peace and quiet once dinner was over with.  This, of course, makes for a perfect excuse to see a movie that I want to see and that he is, er, shall we say not quite so enthusiastic about.

A Single Man was a very good film in an indie, art house, not-a-snowball’s-chance-in-hell-it-will-end-well kind of way.  (Would it kill an indie director to end an “art film” on a happy note for once?  Hmm???)  So our protagonist is still mourning the loss via car accident of his male lover of 16+ years, and he’s not having a good time of it, but he manages to keep his quiet, English reserve in place through it all, never revealing his pain.  After a particularly impassioned speech to his English students about Aldus Huxley and the general populous’ fear of unseen minorities – he references blondes and freckled people, but he’s really talking about more taboo minorities such as homosexuals like himself – remember that this is set in 1962 – he decides to end his life.  While rebuffing a flurry of last chances, moments that have the potential to help him beyond his grief, to help him embrace life again, he makes detailed plans for his own demise.  Each chance at embracing Life is rebuffed, and then just toward the end… well, you should see for yourself.

The cinematography was excellent.  I found myself wishing I could take home still photographs of some of the scenes – one in particular where Professor Falconer (Firth’s character) parks his ca. 1962 Mercedes in front of a giant, blue-toned, extreme closeup billboard of Janet Leigh’s stunned face promoting Psycho.  The giant blue eyes staring right through him as he gets out of the car…  Yeah, I want a poster of that!  As an aside, most of the movie is shot in a very desaturated light, but each time Life reaches out to him there is a moment of saturated color, as if he sees the chance but chooses to ignore it.  The style of the film was a nice touch and appropriate from fashion designer turned director Tom Ford.

Mr. Firth is up for a Best Actor Oscar this weekend and from what I saw tonight he deserves the nomination and has more than a fighting chance, although Jeff Bridges has a hellatious long list of nominations under his belt and no Oscar to show for it.  This could be his year instead, just by virtue of the statistical likelihood of his finally landing the award.

So, if you’re into Colin Firth, or if your thing is handsome, well-groomed young men, or if you like indie films that may or may not end well, I recommend A Single Man.  If not, well then you’re in luck, Leap Year is playing just down the hall…

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