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Review: A Single Man

Colin Firth plays George Falconer —one of the coolest film names ever by the way —a repressed man who has woken up without his lover Jim (Matthew Goode) by his side for months. A phone call from one of Jim's cousins makes his new reality clear: Jim died in a car accident outside of Denver. George will not be allowed to come to the wedding, family only of course. This revelation shatters George's life, but Firth plays it with the quiet dignity he is renowned for.

So now the man who was only allowed some small semblance of happiness must go about his life not allowed to grieve his loss without being discovered. This would be harder for many people, but every morning George cinches his tie knot he separates his passions from his brain. Every morning he goes into work he becomes an unfeeling machine, only passing the time until the Cubans nuke us to kingdom come. Months pass and George contemplates suicide, that is until Kenny (Nicholas Hoult) one of his young students takes an interest in the cagey old man.

It would never have occurred to most that designer Tom Ford would've made a good director, but A Single Man possesses a touch that rivals great auteurs. Shots are staged just so and the pacing never flounders. When George finally acknowledges that there is more to life than what's lost, the colors flourish and create one of the most beautiful scenes on celluloid I have ever seen.

Colin Firth delivers the performance of his entire career, he may be known for romantic comedies, but that image could change if the Best Actor Oscar goes to the Brit. Matthew Goode who has also turned in quite a few good performances in The Lookout, Watchmen and Brideshead Revisited, performs the thankless task of being the lover often ignored in films like Milk. There is a cool cameo to be on the look out for as well—no sense in spoiling it for you.

A Single Man reminds me of an old Federico Fellini film. The well dressed, meticulously groomed cast, and a central protagonist plagued with existential angst. This film looks beautiful and at the least should garner four Academy Awards nods for art direction, cinematography, and costuming (not to mention the Best Actor nod that Colin Firth will no doubt get).

Grief is infrequently captured like this and, thanks to Tom Ford and Colin Firth, this is one of the most beautiful takes imaginable.

***1/2 out of ****

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