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A Single Man

A movie directed by Tom Ford.

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Love and the Pain of Grief

  • Mar 30, 2010
  • by
"A Single Man"

Love and the Pain of Grief

Amos Lassen

Tom Ford has an amazing directorial debut with "A Single Man", his first film. He has taken Christopher Isherwood's classic book and he has breathed new life into it (not that it needed it as it still remains a classic).
Colin Firth as George Falconer, a closeted college professor, is absolutely brilliant. George found love with Jim (Matthew Goode), a younger man and they had a relationship of sixteen years. When George gets a phone call that tells him that Jim was killed in a car crash, he falls apart. Jim's family refuses to see him and he is banned from attending Jim's funeral. He is also tired of living behind a mask of deception about who he is and he becomes despondent. His life starts to move between memories of the past and short meetings with his best friend and one-time lover, Charley (Julianne Moore). Charley has her own problems to deal with and she avoids them by drinking. She does manage however to help George put his life in order.
Sounds somewhat depressing, does it not? The opposite is actually the case. The movie is not about death but about the joys of being alive. George's memories are what keep him going and living. Performance wise the movie is brilliant throughout. This film comes to you from Ford and he has wrapped it in love. Ford focuses on detail and the film mixes homoeroticism, drama, tragedy, comedy and surrealism together to give us a wonderful viewing experience. we do not get many movies about the grieving process and here we see how grief can be channeled into living life to the fullest.
The film belongs to Ford and Colin Firth. Firth emotionally shows us the definition of love and the pain of grief as well as he allows us to enter the mind of a man who is in deep pain over the loss of his lover. Visually this is an exquisite movie to watch and an experience you should not be without.

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More A Single Man (movie) reviews
review by . July 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
There were times when I found this movie to be agonizingly slow. I had to fast-forward the movie just to get it up to normal speed. I wouldn't have minded so much if the acting had been really compelling, but I just could never see Colin Firth as the character he was supposed to be playing (contrast that with how easily Sean Penn slipped into his character in Milk). At times I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.      Just to clarify - I actually like some of the more …
review by . February 05, 2010
From Runway to Celluloid : Tom Ford's Directorial Debut (A Single Man)
Tom Ford is best known for his work on the runway, as Creative Director for fashion houses like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent (YSL). As Creative Director for Gucci (1994-2004), Ford made the label one of the most profitable luxury brands in the world and in 2006 announced that he would launch his own line of ready-to-wear men's clothes under the TOM FORD name making women everywhere long for the day when Tom Ford might also dress them. I mean, c'mon, have you seen this man?       …
Quick Tip by . August 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Colin Firth
I really wanted this film to be a masterpiece and it came so close, but it let me down in the last quarter. Colin Firth gives what may be his best performance yet playing a suicidal gay professor who is still in mourning after the death of his lover in a car accident. He seeks solace in quiet reflective moments during the day, as well as in his relationship with his hipster friend, played by Julianne Moore, with whom he once had a sexual relationship as well. The film features some visually stunning …
review by . July 09, 2010
The year is 1962, and George (Colin Firth), a quiet college professor, is about to kill himself. His lover has died and George has calmly decided that he cannot bear to live another day alone. He teaches a class, puts his papers in order, sees his best friend, and is ready to go. Then, one of his students interrupts his plan.      This very intimate, somber, arty film has a good script and good actors. Firth gives a wonderful performance as a man who welcomes death; his expressive …
About the reviewer
Amos Lassen ()
Ranked #208
I am an academic who reivews movies and books of interest to the GLBT and Jewish communities.   I came to Arkansas after having been relocated here due to Hurricane Katrina. I was living in … more
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About this movie


A Single Man is a 2009 American drama film based on the Christopher Isherwood novel of the same name. It was directed by fashion designer Tom Ford, who had to finance it himself, as it was his directorial debut. The film stars Colin Firth as the protagonist George Falconer, a gay British university professor living in Southern California in 1962.

The production design was done by the same team that created the production sets in Mad Men, which is also set in the same era.

The film premiered on September 11, 2009 at the 66th Venice International Film Festival and went on the film festival circuit. After it screened at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, The Weinstein Company picked it up for distribution in the United States and Germany. An initial limited run in the U.S. was planned for December 2009 to qualify it for the 82nd Academy Awards with a wider release planned in early 2010.

A story that centers on an English professor who, after the sudden death of his partner tries to go about his typical day in Los Angeles. Based on a novel by the same name, by Christopher Isherwood.
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Director: Tom Ford
Genre: Drama
Screen Writer: Christopher Isherwood
DVD Release Date: July 6, 2010
Runtime: 99 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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