Monday, 22 March 2010
The amazing achievement of this film is that it manages to convey the grey heartsick emotion of grief while also depicting the moments of great clarity, beauty and even lust that grief can bestow. Colin Firth plays George, an English professor mourning the death of his long term lover (Matthew Goode) in 1960s California. His only friend is his neighbour Charley (Julianne Moore), a gin soaked divorcee who dreams of turning him straight.
Directed by fashion icon Tom Ford, and based loosely on the Christopher Isherwood novel, A Single Man is art-directed within an inch of its life, yet it works. Every single shot is luscious. The colours, the textures, the slow motion scenes of heart-breaking poignancy, these could even be compared to works of Wong Kar Wai. Lovers of period detail and fans of TV’s Mad Men will adore the film, as will fashionistas. The costuming is superb, as you’d expect, and Firth proves again that he knows how to work a perfect white shirt. But it’s the humanity and heart of the film and the superb performances that make this more than just an exercise in style. Sublime.
(This review appeared in #349 of The Big Issue, Australia)