A Single Man (2009)


A Single Man (2009)It’s been a while since I’ve seen a really touching film as A Single Man (2009) a that never really caught my attention really until now. As I have matured so has my approach to the films I choose to watch. Before art school I would never have dreamed of watching a Hitchcock until I decided after hearing about his work during crit’s to take the plunge and I haven’t looked back.

Returning to this film that takes place over a day in the life of George (Colin Firth) who cannot get over the death of his lover Jim (Matthew Goode) who died 8 months before the events of the film. An English lecturer who is more pre-occupied with the eyes of everyone in his view than the ideas in the students minds that are asking him questions. George is a reclusive man who in the world of the 1960’s is still a homosexual in hiding from the world at large, only opening up to those who come into his space. And when a potential lover does a subtle change in the camera towards him warms up from a deathly white to a warm glow, giving him hope as he plans his final day, giving his last lecture to even seeing his life long friend Charley (Julianne Moore) a past lover and now closest friend who we are told through dramatic flashbacks was there for him when the news of his lover’s death hit him.

The emotion in this film is subtle, never over or underplayed, timed just right to give powerful moments in a beautiful relationship that was shattered less than a year ago by shocking news. The flashbacks build up a melancholic tone, that reflects George outlook on life, the best of his life is over, now just existing, nothing and no-one new to come into it. Yet as the camera tells us through the close-ups of eyes, there’s an attention to detail in his life that has not disappeared, still fascinated with life, the passion for carrying on has burned out, needing something to reinvigorate him.

This re-invigoration comes twice in the film, first we are teased with the possibility of the student Kenny (Nicholas Hoult) who we learn has asked for his address. We never really know his intentions, is he lost in his life and sees his lecturer as a role-model who he can reach-out to. Whilst a more obvious encounter is Carlos (Jon Kortajarena) a Spanish James Dean who came to Los Angeles. There’s a moment of flirtation that goes no further than a smoke on the front of George’s car. It’s another encounter with Kenny that re-opens the thoughts on saving a bloody end to George’s life, give him reason to carry on, instead of taking matters into his own hands. So much is given, yet its all innocent. Hope is restored for him in some form to carry on.

I had a feeling that no blood would be spilt in this film that was carefully considered, down from the editing of the flashback to the colouring of the film. Visually nothing of the 1960’s is truly in your face, we see a blurring of 1950’s to the new decades visual look. Along with Firth’s visual homage to Michael Caine which is the only strong statement in the film. Everything is carefully considered and balanced to allow a day pass in a short time with it seeming far longer.

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One response

  1. It’s a great movie, and it definitely touches…

    September 30, 2013 at 8:40 am

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