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A Single Man

A Single Man

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

COLIN Firth has rightly received an Oscar (as well as BAFTA) nomination for his performance in A Single Man and it’s easy to see why. He’s utterly mesmerising, even if Tom Ford’s film ultimately feels flawed.

The actor plays 52-year-old college professor George Falconer, a man who is struggling to find meaning in his life after the death of his long-time partner Jim (Matthew Goode) in ’60s America. Through the course of one day, however, he aims to take back control…

Firth’s thought-provoking performance is brave, heartfelt and utterly commendable and the film is utterly magnetic whenever he’s allowed to take centre stage.

Witness his reaction to news of Jim’s death (shot in agonizing close up by Ford), or the way he quietly observes others while contemplating his position in life. If you had written off the actor as one-dimensional, this film will make you have second thoughts.

Unfortunately, Ford’s direction doesn’t always match the quality of his leading man’s efforts.

A celebration designer, Ford’s eye for style is seldom in doubt but occasionally gets in the way of the substance of the film.

Early on, in particular, some ultra slo-mo sequences that play up the artiness of the direction threaten to detract from what’s occurring on-screen and pull the viewer out of the emotional experience. It’s distracting and, eventually, annoying.

Julianne Moore is also under-used as Firth’s best friend and frustrated ex-lover…. even though she’s probably played this kind of role one too many times before.

And there’s not enough time given to Goode and Firth in flashback to really establish the enormity of George’s loss, or the intimacy of their 12-year relationship.

That said, A Single Man still resonates powerfully and is fully deserving of the Oscar buzz surrounding Firth. It’s highly recommended for his performance alone.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 101mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: June 7, 2010