Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
This is how you know a gay fashion designer made “A Single Man”: It looks great. And this poetic beauty, in all its chic come-to-life contrast, is what makes Tom Ford’s dynamic directorial debut, where color dances about the funereal monochromatic scheme to represent life’s vigor, an eye-gasm that only sometimes swallows its own story.
Based on Christopher Isherwood’s heralded 1964 novel about an empty, closeted gay man whose zeal for living dies when his partner of 16 years, Jim (a charming Matthew Goode), actually does, “A Single Man” is essentially a tale of sadness, loneliness and love, all oozing in the bleakest of tones in its artful cinematic translation.
Only intermittently does gay English professor George Falconer (Colin Firth in a career-best performance), living in L.A. during the ’60s, come alive – and when he does, the on-screen palette bursts into brightness like a rainbow after a storm. It befits the sullen-but-sometimes-funny script (keenly written by Ford and David Scearce), which is a daylong look into the life of George as he plans his suicide. But can the people around him help him fight his fate?
There’s the pity party with his complex best friend Charley, aced by a spirited Julianne Moore – especially as she gets increasingly playful with each tonic concoction she sucks down. A hot hooker makes George feel wanted. The neighbors juxtapose his sorrowful state as they bubbly blast through life with unshakeable smiles. In them, he sees the possibility of restoring what he lost – happiness and hope.
He finds that in Kenny (Nicholas Hoult of “About a Boy” fame), an analytical intellectual and one of George’s students, who challenges and charms the pants off his teacher. Literally, as they doff their duds and skinny dip in the lake – a scene that’s simplistically beautiful and awash with magical morose-parting optimism. Hoult, a pretty boy with the most gorgeous ocean-colored eyes, perfectly plays the inquisitive kid who suspects George’s isolation.
But the eloquent film belongs to Firth, giving an Oscar-caliber interpretation of a man clouded with dashed hopes, all the more heartbreaking when he sees his lover Jim in black-and-white flashbacks and we gradually realize what a pair they were.
Barely an iota of it is translated in the scheming mainstream-beguiling trailer, a flashy image montage that implies only a hetero hookup between Charley and George – one that’s obviously important to “A Single Man,” but hardly the crux of Ford’s film, which is unabashedly queer. Two men even kiss. On the lips.
Sexuality, though, has little to do with what George is experiencing – the most universal of human conditions: to feel, to lose, to suffer. Color can help translate that, as it does splendidly here, but Firth’s wounded performance does that just fine on its own.