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9 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

There is no body in this beautiful suit

3/10
Author: stefan-vollering from Netherlands
25 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie blew me away. For some time, at least. The suits, the house, the hair, the car, the grass on the lawn - suave like an Esquire advertisement come alive. Colin Firth subtly shows the struggles that professor George Falconer goes through after the loss of his love, while his long time friend Jennifer (Julianne Moore) longs back to glory days and one of his students is interested in more than just the professor's literature course.

But then, after ten minutes or so, when the stage is set and the characters adequately sketched, the scenario writer was probably replaced by a writer of Harlequin romantic books, because the dialogue turns awful and there are a dubious number of obsolete (homo- )romantic/erotic scenes. Even worse, the pace slows down to zero. Sure, both Jennifer and the student make their move, and Mr. Firth contemplates "being quiet" for the weekend and beyond. However, it's all in such a glacial pace that I nearly yelled to the screen: "What's wrong with you" when Mr. Firth inquires for the umptieth time why the student has come over, and when violins are put on repeat while Mr. Firth shows his eternal grief into the camera.

I would prefer the Esquire since I can leaf through it, which does not take forever.

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11 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Firth's Best Work Singled Out...

6/10
Author: Clayton Davis (Claytondavis@awardscircuit.com) from New Jersey
10 December 2009

First time writer/director Tom Ford, adapts the novel by Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man starring Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, and Matthew Goode.

When College Professor George (Firth) loses his lover Jim (Goode) to a tragic accident while visiting his family, George endures a high level of depression and despair. Not even his long time friend Charley (Moore), who has a heavy drinking hand, knows the depth of his pain. But when he encounters a student with a seemingly high zest for learning (Nicholas Hoult), George may have got more than he bargained for.

The artistic integrity and liberties taken by Ford here are some of the best by a debut director in quite sometime. Ford knows his material and knows his power in the directing chair. Though at times, the film can drag and lag throughout, there's no denying the velocity and vulnerability given by the actors, more notably, Colin Firth.

In the performance of his career, Firth examines a man with no will to go on to the next stage of his life. As he loses his world in a single whim, his day in Los Angeles could not seem more empty. Firth executes this feeling with poise and veracity. Mostly worn on his heartrending features, Firth knows no boundaries of an actor. He goes after each feeling and emotion with effortless rage and honorably cruelty.

Julianne Moore, in her brief screen time, is magical and utterly charismatic in her role of Charley. She's tender and jovial but under the layers lies a completely devastating performance, one that Oscar can hopefully take note of this awards season. After the film's heart wrenching ending, you'll take Moore's character home with you, completely distraught and hoping for safety.

Matthew Goode, completely warm in his respective role is memorable and gives his all in his minimal viewing on screen. Hoult is an extraordinary talent with many great roles ahead of him in the future.

In the end however, Ford's decisions with cinematography by Eduard Guau are the true achievement of the film. Aside from the breathtaking works by Firth and Moore, the cinematography stands out as brilliant piece of cinema style. He's made a stamp for himself early on in his venture into cinema.

The narrative is slow and at times dreary, but performers will pull you through along with a decent score, A Single Man gets the job done with truth and candor.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Tom Ford's dreamy creation

8/10
Author: Patryk Czekaj from Warsaw
27 May 2012

This is a very untypical movie, mainly because of the fact that the man responsible for directing it was previously known only as a high-end fashion empire's creator. A Single Man deals with homosexuality and its struggle to gain support during the post-war era in the USA. But it's mainly a sad story about human's inability to cope with a sudden departure of a loved one. It's very slow-paced, with a lot of quiet sequences made to present its very sorrowful tone. The general presentation, in a highly graceful manner, makes it appear as an independent art movie, reserved for a specific group of viewers.

This movie is as stylish as Tom Ford's clothing collections. He took care of everything, from the smallest details. The interior designs are subtle and very modern, the clothes are high-class. Even the ways the actors speak make the dialogues seem like an artistic flow of carefully chosen sentences. And the Californian aura is so fantastically pleasant to look at; it almost makes you want to be there.

In its very subtle art form it delivers a notion so profound, that it's almost shocking. Within the visually beautiful and dream-like cinematography you can actually feel the tenderness and overwhelming grief coming from the main character, George. During his last day on Earth (he intends to commit suicide later on) he travels around town and meets many very different people. There is his friend from England, Charley, who tries to help him cope with the loss and in the meantime wants to strengthen the bond between them and make him ignorantly fall in love with her. Then there is also Kenny, a teenager on the verge of discovering his true sexuality. Through all of the encounters George tries to remember how wonderfully he felt like near the departed Jim and that the hole in his heart can never be filled.

Colin Firth did a really good job as the protagonist. The grievous show that he puts on, with the help of his rich assortment of mimicry abilities, makes his performance believable. And even though he seems phlegmatic at times, in this artistic visage he is like some divine creature purposely meant to be damned for eternity.

It's a very true story that every one on of can relate to at some point. There are many different ways of dealing with death of someone close to us. Some will probably recover after, some will not. Then there are those, who will respond with the most extreme thoughts. But sometimes even in the darkest moment there is always a possibility of encountering someone or something that will make one believe there is another purpose to stay alive for a little longer.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

a stunning movie in every aspect.

9/10
Author: khan2705 from Pakistan
28 September 2011

EDITED

George Falconer (Colin Firth) feels lost. Not only is he still grieving the death of his longtime companion, Jim (Matthew Goode), but he's also a Brit teaching English at a California college. He's so distraught with heartbreak that he's decided to kill himself, and proceeds to get all his affairs in order while carrying on with what otherwise would be a normal day. He gives an unusually forceful lecture to his class, revealing enough that a perceptive student, Kenny (Nicholas Hoult), senses something is wrong with the professor; collects his important financial papers from his bank; buys bullets for a handgun he owns; and makes a visit to his best friend (Julianne Moore). But throughout these methodical preparations, George keeps running into people -- a colleague's daughter, a attractive gay hustler, and the sympathetic Kenny -- who offer him glimpses of why he should stay alive.

Starring, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult, Matthew Goode, Jon Kortajarena , Paulette Lamori , Ryan Simpkins , Ginnifer Goodwin , Teddy Sears , Paul Butler , Aaron Sanders.

Directed by first time director Tom Ford who was is a well known fashion designer too.

Nominated for 1 Oscar, Best Lead Actor for Colin Firth. he won that years Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival.

so this is a drama based on a novel. this is story of a man George Falconer who is a a depressed gay British university professor living in Southern California in 1962. the movie shows him coping with the death of his long time partner Jim. he died in an accident but George survived. he is now very sad and depressed and feels like nothing is left in this world, he is broke down the whole world seem to have crashed down for him, he tries to continue with his routine but can't stop himself from thinking about him. just can't seem to move on. he tries to take his life. will he? or not?

this is a stylish and visually striking film making of the first rate. a superbly crafted movie by a first time director Tom Ford. this is one of the best movies of 2009 and a really satisfying one too. this may not be the kind of movie to everyone but it just superbly moved me. i think more and more Fashion designers should make movies because their fashion sense comes strikingly vivid in every aspect of their film making.

Colin Firth was on the top of the list of every award and festival circuit and this movie was loved mostly because of him. though his performance as a King coping with himself was great but for some reasons i think he should have gotten an Oscar for this movie. he performed far more stunningly in this movie. deeply sad and masterful acting performance. you will get blown away from his tour de force performance. he strikes the screen with his superb presence. his stare his look his thoughts and his actions reflect so much. outstanding performance. Julianne Moore was strikingly astounding in this movie. the moment i saw the first look of this movie, she struck me so much. i thought she will get an Oscar nomination once again, but unfortunately that didn't happen. she was really good. i thought better than her few nominated previous performances. Matthew Goode is amazingly looking guy, i like him a lot. other supporting cast were good. they literally act as supporting figures in his life too at that time. trying to remind and feel him of the life's beauty while not letting him to do anything with himself.

Direction though may have slight flaws is easily to ignore, alos because it was his first movie. superb direction with an eye to look things in their very deepness to easily figure about between the beauty and bluntness of life and the story of this movie. Screenplay was good. editing was nice and art direction, cinematography and costumes were stunningly outstanding. also the background score was excellent.

a visually stunning and striking movie with a deeply saddened and emotional tone. superb work. must see this movie. it is just so beautiful.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A single man's thoughts

Author: sandover from Greece
15 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It is some time now I saw the film, and not unlike many of the reviewers I had a craving way before it played on the screens. Before watching I was absurdly sure I would write something here about it; but after I saw it, the urge somehow vanished. The film did not grow on me; I do not think this applies to the case. Yet a very pervasive, though elusive sense, seemed to me stubbornly, and at the same time repressively, there, that made the film an experience very hard to pin down.

That the film feels like a diagonal autobiography of his auteur, is I think beyond dispute, though the rough part is defining in what way this happens: of course a director is more or less involved in a kind of abstract autobiography through his choices, but something unprecedented happens here I think.

I think of the great Tadao Ando's undertaking of Tom Ford's mausoleum: a disproportionate gesture for common mortals. A whiff of a somewhat burnt smell, also, in that what fits appropriately the movie is that sense of thanatography, running against the common biographical thread; through the cinematic choices' seams the sense comes off of the film being a self-portrait in death: I have rarely encountered a film that constantly purveys the sense of bodily entrapment and imminent slight shock in each encounter with a beautiful face. Yes, I think it is mostly a very modern sense of being trapped in the body more than a case of chaste lust, abstract beauty, glossed on due to Tom Ford's former profession, that is communicated with each 'subjective shot', especially the ones concerning the young student, as if to make us identify with Firth's awe.

And yet, the film is also ironic towards him, especially in the shocking, saddening, and still so resignedly adult end. What are we to make of this approach? The film tantalizes us, and perhaps is tantalized by itself, towards which scale will it choose concerning its involvement in its principal character: sympathize with him, or reflect upon him? I think the meeting point of this particular perspective is us: will we reflect upon our situation, sympathize with our predicament? The film never gets self-indulgent in matters of mourning. That is something we should consider in front of the usually mentioned target of the film's disproportionate sheen. Where these two things get blurred is by the third party of apprentice touch of how to emphasize things with the use of "underwater-naked-body" that is so common; these three points do not produce a triangular level, to say it like this, but are rather blurred by the third one.

Take the opening scene, the first the naked-body theme, to call it that, is used: along with the scene that comes next, that is the imaginary visit to the place of the car accident, it sets a quasi-metaphorical tone, that is scandalously and deliciously torn when, in a few minutes, the everyday drabness of sitting on the toilet rim is plainly presented; so much for metaphorical flights, the feeling seems to be, though it was in need of some polishing, I think. Still, it foregrounds adequately the trapped-in-the-body sense.

Colin Firth underplays the (director's) autobiographical tension superbly; he knows where he is, the undercurrent, the subtlety, he is a master of perspectives, which allows him a variety of responses that is amazing. Also, it is a fine metaphor for the cunning of acting, where exquisite nuance can meet wild improvisation: I am thinking of the scene he tries to commit suicide in the sleeping bag, arguably the most elegant object in the whole film, where comic understatement has a mannerism and a fierceness that is matched only in the unexpected end. It is as if, in the end, you can't resign quickly enough from life, or beauty; it is only that life has other plans for you, like a heart attack since you had second thoughts about killing yourself. That this effect is retroactively diffusive is perhaps, just another bitter irony from which the eternal youth of beauty shines through, and again.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A film by an artist from another field (fashion design) is hit out of the ball park!

Author: Golden_Lily from United States
6 April 2010

I think this was the most amazing film. It portrayed passionate love in a rare and immaculately sensitive way. I liked the beauty of the entire film...the sets, costumes, actors, script, story. Beautifully cast. Colin Firth was absolutely stellar. I think he should have received the Academy Award for best actor in a dramatic role.

I also thought that Before Night Falls by Julian Schnabel was another unique and incredibly beautiful film of great emotional depth. Perhaps there is something to films made by artists who come to film via another art form. I highly recommend this movie to people who like beauty and romance.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

great Colin Firth's role in visually enjoyable images

7/10
Author: Kristine Giluce from France
16 March 2010

From its very first images A Single Man shows that it is more than obvious that this film has been made by a fashion designer. Take by take Tom Ford has succeeded to transmit his pedantic vision of things to the cameraman and later to the spectator. Every image to the last one is beautiful in the sense of colors, of decorations and so on to the tiniest details. Maybe sometimes it is too perfect, too neat, but you can't blame him for that!

The "next best thing" that makes this movie so enjoyable is, no doubt, Colin Firth. As not an expert of his acting career, it was pleasant to see him in a slightly different role, not again the "mr-darcy-like grumpy, who after all is very romantic". Nevertheless, in this movie the Colin Firth character still keeps him for himself. Only some dreamlike flash-backs gives a look what's going on in his head. Altogether, quite a touching combination and a realistic one, speaking of loss of the loved one – exterior numbness and interior agony. Colin Firth here is more than capable to give a beautiful combination of both. Relatively small amount of dialogs adds the value – spoken out feelings have the tendency to become less worthy. What concerns Julianne Moore, she looks as beautiful as always, but the role somehow didn't move me as I think it was meant to. In some strange way Charley's character reminded me a bit Barbara's character from Savage Grace. Also all lonely and pathetic, but somehow undone. But perhaps it's Colin Firth who steals all the attention...

As for a débutant in directing, Ford has done a great job, not forgetting to "thank" in some way the grands of the cinema, such as Kubrick and good old Hitchcock. Ford also couldn't resist the temptation to play a bit with the iconic Dean/Brando figure, which adds some kind of sexiness in the grim world of Firth's George. It's all beautifully done, and fits in very organically, but still, leaves us with the feeling that "we have seen this already" . The same thing with the dialogs, though, sometimes they're smart and touching, sometimes they're not smart at all, reminding some petty clichés. Though, all the imperfections are nothing but minor details, A Single Man by itself is a very beautifully done movie, which happens not so often. Respectful thanks to Tom Ford and, hope he does not stop his directing here.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Visual poetry

8/10
Author: Monotreme02
16 March 2010

There is a curious bond between film and fashion design: both are fundamentally visual art forms. Before the addition of sound in the late 1920's, motion pictures were just that: moving images, pure visuals in essence. Unlike in novels or plays, the film medium forced artists to tell their stories visually, and to use words sparingly. In a similar manner, fashion design can also tell stories, although the types of stories woven into clothes are far more abstract than the more straightforward plots of films. Another element that ties the two together is that both film-making and fashion design are worlds in which art is directly tied with profit making: no matter how strong or deep the artistic ambitions of the work, at the end of the day, your goal is to sell tickets/clothes. This commercial element separates both film and fashion design from the other fine art forms. And what better a marriage of these two worlds than to have an established fashion designer direct a motion picture.

And the results more than show: A Single Man is a deliciously visual film, in which Ford seems far less interested in telling a story through words, and instead, shifts his focus to establishing a mood, a character, emotions and feelings and thoughts are all mixed up in a primordial soup of images. Essentially, A Single Man is a character study, taking place over a single 24-hour period and depicting the impact various individuals in various degrees of romantic involvement with the protagonist. We have his lover, killed in a car crash, the scars of which burn so deep that they drive George to suicide. We have George's best friend for life, infatuated with him but whose feelings are not returned, as she is of the wrong gender for George's taste. And finally, a young student of George's, representing perhaps a fleeting hope of a future love, of the simple naivety of the future generation. All these characters drift in and out of the film as we see events through George's point of view, and it is quite a unique one at that.

In order to solidify our connection with George, Ford employs what may be one of the most interesting uses of color I have seen in a recent film. The entire movie is de-saturated and drained of color, to emphasize George's dreary existence. And yet, every once in a while, something will literally brighten up George's life: the smell of a wild flower or the perfume of his secretary, his friend's green eyes, or the angelic, beautiful face of young Kenny, so full of hope and joy. Memories of his time spent with his deceased lover, on the other hand, are presented in stark black-and-white, beautiful memories but deadly and dreary to dwell on. It is a stroke of visual genius that is more than complemented by the fantastic and sleek cinematography, and top-notch 1960's period production and costume design, with an astute attention to detail, no doubt stemming from Ford's own personal familiarity with vintage clothes.

But the true crowning achievement of the film is its central performance. Colin Firth is nothing short of mesmerizing as the hollow George, drifting almost dream-like through what he thinks will be his last day on earth. It is an incredible, admirably subtle performance, in which Firth perfectly captures every gesture, every restrained emotion, and truly delivers a fascinating character study worthy of the greatest actors. Firth has always stuck to more lighter, romantic comedy fare like Bridget Jones' Diary, Shakespeare in Love, Love Actually and Mamma Mia!, but I had always felt the potential was there. But he truly shines in this role: I think it's safe to say that it is the single finest moment of his career, not to mention my personal pick of the best lead male performance of 2009. Another performance really stands out, and that is Julianne Moore as Charley, George's platonic friend for life. It is a slightly more showy performance as Charley is characterized by an overtly sympathetic and bubbly personality, despite her loneliness and her tragically unreciprocated feelings towards George. It is an excellent performance that perfectly compliments and enhances Firth's turn, and I am surprised that Moore didn't get more attention for it.

A Single Man is not a film about story, but rather, about a man, and more broadly, about a man in a certain time and what that means considering the context. It's the 1960's, the sexual revolution is just beginning, and open homosexuality is becoming more and more commonplace. It is not an issue that is overtly discussed in the film, but it is an important theme that is quite prominent. Where does young Kenny stand in all this? Does his seduction of George stem from genuine romantic feelings, or is he simply part of the "hip, bohemian" revolution, experimenting sexually but nothing more? George was deeply and genuinely in love with his life partner, and yet it is hinted that his parents did not approve. Ford takes the correct approach and does not bring up these themes and implications directly: rather, he lets the visuals, the images, and the characters' actions speak for themselves, and the result is a remarkable piece of film-making, especially considering that it is a directorial debut. If Ford ever considered a career change, this would be the perfect field for him.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Single Man...a quiet, thoughtful film.

7/10
Author: bsam5886 from Australia
14 March 2010

I was quite surprised after viewing this film, Colin Firth was brilliantly cast as George and Nicholas Hoult was breathtaking as Kenny. I have not read the short story but it would have been interesting to read some reviews after it was published. Nicholas has the most beautiful eyes and was quite the innocent looking but not necessarily the innocent in intentions!! Julianne Moore had a small part but played Charley well, her laugh was most annoying. I thought that Tom Ford did an amazing job with his first feature film - gave the characters an honesty yet vulnerability quality. George scene with Jim reading books quietly by the fire showed us that there are no differences between "real" (straight) love and gay love - you can feel love for someone regardless of their sexuality. The clothes were impeccable and beautiful (what would you expect from Tom Ford, he is brilliant designer).

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyable if you like that sort of thing

9/10
Author: Duncan_C from United Kingdom
19 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Saw "A Single Man" last night. I've been waiting to see it for a while, I saw the trailer a few weeks back and was blown away by the look of the film. Every shot in the film is like a work of art worthy of being framed and hung on a wall. Directed by Tom Ford the man who's known for 'redefining Gucci'. He's an incredible photographer and has taken the leap from advertising to film very well. The film is just visually stunning. The use of colour to display emotions was well done. The pace of the film was steady and didn't feel too long or too short. There are numerous flashbacks in the film to his gay relationship which are great, and enjoyable. The setting of the film in both time and location is authentic and absorbing. I could go on about how enjoyable this film was but there were some downsides. The script is basic although I don't think it needed to be anything more than that to work. The character played by Nicholas Hoult is perhaps a little bit annoying but I'm probably prejudice as I'm not a huge fan of the actor. There are I think some continuity errors but they're done in a way that's confident and so they don't take away from the film too much, although I did personally find them distracting. The film got a bit weird towards the end but I think it was a reasonably solid ending. I like the character played by Colin Firth. I'm not normally a huge Colin Firth film but he did a good job in this. His character was very watchable. Julianne Moore also did a very good job. The soundtrack was great and authentic. It added to the smokey erotic style of the film. The film is very erotic. Lots of lips and slow motion flesh. Anyway to some up a very enjoyable film, made the way good films should be made.

www.duncancowles.com

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