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At the movies – A Single Man

A Single Man

Rated: M

Running Time: 100 mins

Director: Tom Ford

Cast: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult, Matthew Goode

Release Date: 25th February 2010

I have to admit, when I first heard fashion designer Tom Ford had written, produced and directed a film, I didn’t have high hopes. I mean, I love his clean aesthetic with clothes, and what he did for the Gucci brand was incredible, but directing a movie? And one that’s not about fashion?

But then I saw the trailer, heard about Colin Firth’s performance, and couldn’t wait to see it.

Set in 1962 and based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel of the same name, Colin Firth plays George, a single man after his boyfriend Jim (Matthew Goode) was killed in a car accident eight months prior. The film follows George throughout one day in his life, a day he hopes to make his last.

We see George in his morning ritual, transforming himself from a broken man to the perfectly put together English college professor he presents to the world. We see George in his class, where he lectures his bored students about the pressures of not conforming. The only student to take an interest is Kenny (Nicholas Hoult), though what he is actually interested in might not be the content of the class.

We see George getting his affairs together, laying everything out in perfect order, readying himself for his death; and then popping over to his friend Charley’s (Julianne Moore) house for gin and cigarettes. And we see George’s memories of Jim, the times they had together – meeting at a local bar, lying in the sun at the beach and just relaxing at home reading. In between we occasionally see George take note of the little things in life, which make the present world more beautiful.

Colin Firth is excellent in this role, and completely deserves all the award wins and nominations he has received. His performance is perfectly restrained, barely showing any emotion through George’s flawless façade, but giving the audience the sense that everything is bubbling just below the surface. And Tom Ford muse Julianne Moore is also fantastic as sad divorcee Charley, whose only comfort is a bottle of gin.

I have never seen a more stylish movie. Every single detail – from the props, the makeup, the hair, and of course the wardrobe, is just so beautiful to look at. Even the extras look like they could be walking down a catwalk! The film has been criticized for being over-styled, but I appreciated the work which went into every single frame. I also enjoyed Ford’s use of colour, and lack of colour in the film – the movie is largely grey and dull, but bursts to life when George notices something beautiful.

The music score is also fantastic, and there’s a real sense of a ticking clock throughout, as George’s impending doom comes closer and closer.

Reviewed by Alicia Malone

Reviewed by Alicia Malone

“A Single Man” is an impeccably put together film, a rare mix of style and substance.

4 out of 5

Reviewed by Alicia Malone

For a complete guide to what’s worth watching at the cinema, tune into Movie Juice this Saturday night on Movie Extra.

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