A Single Man
11 December, 2009
Summary: A Single Man is the story of George Falconer, a gay English College Professor, living in 1960s Los Angeles. George is dealing with depression after his partner of 16 years, Jim, died in a car crash. George has decided that life is no longer worth living and is planning to commit suicide – however spending time with his best friend Charly (Julianne Moore) and student Kenny (Nicholas Hoult) he starts to reconsider.
My Favourite Scene: Although it sounds strange, I really enjoyed the scene where George is planning to commit suicide. He is sat on his bed, with the gun pointed into his mouth, but he cannot get comfortable. He moves the pillows into every different position. He lies down, sits up and tries halfway but he just cannot feel at ease.
He then decides that dying in the bathroom would be more practical, but then again he changes his mind. George goes back to his room, pulls out a sleeping bag and crawls into it. With the gun raised, the phone rings. He finally gives up and goes to Charly’s house.
The suicide notes are written, and funeral clothes are ready, but it seems no matter how much preparation George does, he cannot bring himself to pull the trigger and end his life. George went through the day knowing that when he arrived home he was going to kill himself, but when the time came, he just could not do it. I like this scene because there is the contrast of the humour of George’s thinking behind how he wanted to be himself and the serious reality of what he is actually doing.
My Favourite Quotes:
George: “Looking in the mirror staring back at me isn't so much a face as the expression of a predicament.”
George: “(to Kenny, after being asked why he did not want a shower) Oh, I'm fine. I'm English, we like to be cold and wet.”
My Thoughts: I think Colin Firth is the sort of actor who suits one role. Unfortunately he has been typecast as the ‘Mr. Darcy heartthrob’ and because of this, I cannot imagine him playing any other part. Firth actually received an Oscar nomination for his performance in ‘A Single Man’ - however I felt that in some parts, his acting was poor and unconvincing.
The other element of this film which I found disappointing was the development of the relationships. Excect for Charly, the roles of Kenny and Carlos felt like cameos. During the film flashbacks were shown of George’s memory with Jim. It was strange because it seemed either there should have been just one flashback or several more. The depth of the relationship between George and Jim was not properly explored. Besides the scene where they are reading together on the sofa, most of the flashbacks did not show how important they were to each other.
I thought that the use of colour in the film was interesting. Tom Ford said that he wanted to use colour to reflect how George was feeling. I think he did this well. In some parts, everything was grey and bleak but in others things were colourful and bright. Through the film the audience saw the progression from the beginning, where everything is dull, to towards the end where colour was used more, to convey George’s changing emotions.
Considering the media hype of this film and Colin Firth’s Oscar nomination, I have to say I was slightly disappointed. I enjoyed Julianne Moore’s performance and I think the script was impressive - but I felt the film as a whole, lacked substance. I think it would have been more powerful to have had no flashbacks and just had the audience feel George’s loss from how he was feeling rather than what he remembered.