A Single Man

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Postby ITALIANO » Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:04 pm

Mister Tee wrote: It seemed beyond-likelihood that he'd have two hot guys come on to him so overtly in such a short period.

It happens, it happens... :;):

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Postby Mister Tee » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:54 pm

I think we need to emphasize the movie's smallness. I kept thinking "short story", not novel. It's a nice, delicate piece once it gets going (past that opening 15 minutes or so, when I thought I'd scream if I saw one more fetishized close-up of lips), but wispy.

The phone call from the cousin is very moving, and, despite being from another era, has resonance to the battles of today.

I liked the scene with Moore alot -- she's so unafraid to let unflattering emotions poke through. I don't think this should have been a slam-dunk nomination, but she's certainly better than Penelope Cruz.

I can understand why Firth has been so highly praised but also why he hasn't won much of anything, even from critics. It's a textured, restrained performance, without the kind of scenes that make actors come out on top in balloting. It actually brought back memories of the breakthrough Peter Finch performance in Sunday, Bloody Sunday. One thing, though: Firth just looks way too young and beautiful for people to be calling him "old man". In fact, I was confused by the flashback of his first meet with his lover, as Firth looked more or less the same as he did in the present-day story.

I did have some problems with the narrative. It seemed beyond-likelihood that he'd have two hot guys come on to him so overtly in such a short period. (Unless gay life is WAY more active than heterosexual) And the ending, at least assuming I'm interpreting it correctly, had a shaggy dog feel to it. (Isn't it basically the same ending as Reuben Reuben? Which novel was published first?)

I like the score as well, and would endorse it or Up as the best of a lean year.




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Postby Greg » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:34 pm

I haven't seen A Single Man; but, the trailer reminded me of Sunday, Bloody Sunday, which I liked very much.



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Postby ITALIANO » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:57 pm

Great score, and two very good performances.

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Postby Damien » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:29 am

It's my favorite score of the year, as well (although, admittedly, it's been a weak year for scores).
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Postby FilmFan720 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:36 am

Firth is also my choice at this point in the year, but there are still a few to catch up on. As for the score, I liked it a lot but it didn't blow me away...there are several from the year I would place above it, but I won't begrudge it a nomination.
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Postby Okri » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:06 am

The Original BJ wrote:I think Colin Firth is my Best Actor choice this year.

And that score better be nominated or else I will be :angry:

Really? Outside the bit of the score used in the trailer, I didn't care for the music at all.

Right now my best actor choice is Viggo Mortensen, but I haven't seen Freeman or Bridges.

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Postby The Original BJ » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:11 am

I think Colin Firth is my Best Actor choice this year.

And that score better be nominated or else I will be :angry:

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Postby Sabin » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:45 pm

I agree. There's not much to it outside of some nice textures and mood. I didn't like where it went. Nicholas Holt is not good in this movie but provides an interesting almost eerie sense of sexual inquiry that seems purposeful but the film doesn't entirely know what to do with. I did hate where it ended.
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Postby Okri » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:09 pm

I thought it was frustratingly hollow. Firth was great, though. And the ending is actively damaging.

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Postby Sabin » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:34 pm

I liked A Single Man. At its best, it felt almost like everybody was trying to pick this man up in his state as he attempted to reconcile his status as a newly-single man. I think Ford is commenting on the draining imperative of appearances, and how they can blindfold communication. This creates a narrative that is occasionally dull, and often wrongheaded in Ford's directorial flourishes, especially when he over-saturates the color. Colin Firth's greatest coup is actually managing to suggest that these flourishes could be product of his mind. He's outstanding. I wish the film either found something more interesting in his dazed odyssey or something else entirely and more worthy of Firth's brilliance, but it's still a good film.

The score is just fantastic.
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Postby Damien » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:33 am

SPOILERS

An earnest character study and certainly an intelligent film, but it’s also just a little bit dull. And that’s despite neophyte director Ford’s mixed bag of tricks, including (only early on) jump cuts, different film stocks and color palettes, fantasy sequences, and scenes that look like high-gloss fashion ads.

The film is generally true to the Isherwood novel in terms of narrative, but it distorts the author’s intent through tone, design (the surroundings are way too upscale) and characterization. For instance, the scenes with Nicolas Hoult are sexually charged and the student’s sexuality is, at most, ambiguous (although when Hoult gets on his knees to help undress Firth, it certainly looks like its blow job time) – in the book, the young man was interested in the professor for intellectual and emotional reasons. And worst of all is the title character’s attempting suicide – that’s a complete betrayal of the book’s jaded, self-aware stoic. I didn’t like the ending of the novel and I still don’t like it in the picture. Still, despite all my reservations, I admire the film for its compassion and intelligence and the fine performances all around. And a wonderful music score.

6/10




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Postby The Original BJ » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:03 pm

A Single Man has mostly been praised as a Colin Firth vehicle, but I thought it was a strong debut for Tom Ford as a filmmaker. It's a little movie, and I'd be wary of overpraising it, but it's got quite a bit of emotional power for such a small package.

Make no mistake -- this is a sad, sad picture, full of characters hanging on desperately to what little they've left to value in their lives, its protagonist teetering on the precipice between life and death. And yet its images are so beautiful, so haunting -- and the flashback scenes between Firth and Matthew Goode full of real humanity -- you want to believe the film's characters will eventually be able to return to something better, something more hopeful.

It's interesting that, in the age of Mad Men, we've had a number of films this year that have explored life in the '60's -- the film shares more than just a similar title with A Serious Man. (And, though it takes place across the pond, An Education would qualify as well as another film which really taps into the era.) In this way, A Single Man qualifies as a strong portrait of a specific time and place, and the film does an excellent job at showing how the values of the era seem to be oppressing all of the characters lives.

There's a lot of irony in the ending, and it feels very fitting. I'll refrain from discussing much more until people have had a chance to see the film.

Colin Firth is obviously a clear Best Actor candidate. His scene on the telephone near the beginning of the film is a knockout, as we see a wide range of emotions wash over his face as he hears life-altering news. And his reaction to hearing "it's only for family" is devastating. His role isn't full of showy, BIG scenes, but his performance is deeply felt throughout.

Julianne Moore is also terrific in her smaller role as Firth's best friend. It's the kind of character she's often excelled at -- a boozed-up neurotic at the end of her rope -- and she gets the film's emotional outbursts. It's not necessarily new ground for her, but I think she expertly taps into the naivete of a woman who really can't comprehend why her best friend would love another man instead of her. Her mix of ignorance and selfishness is itself heartbreaking. This isn't a trophy-winning role for her, but it will put her in play again, so that (hopefully) she can get a truly great leading role within the next few years and win the Best Actress trophy she's deserved for a while.

The score is tremendously haunting, and it might have been the happiest surprise for me out of all the Golden Globe nominations. It's not the kind of work that often gets Oscar nods, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it makes the cut.

An artful, aching film, and a show of promise for Ford, should he continue his foray into filmmaking.


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