Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

A Single Man - Beautiful


I stayed after the screening of A Single Man to listen to the Q and A with director Tom Ford. The filmmaker was asked about the message of the movie. "The message of the film", he said, "is to enjoy life's little things". I enjoyed this movie. But hearing the director say this made me think again about the film; it allowed me to look closer. It let me realize how we do need to enjoy life's little pleasures.

The main storyline is pretty simple. A gay man in the 1960's (Colin Firth), is suffering the loss of his partner to a car accident. This pain is so unbearable, that he seriously considers taking his own life. The film follows Firth throughout the day, and chronicles his relationship with a friend (Julianne Moore) and a student (Nicholas Hoult). The story also flashes back to scenes with Firth and his lover.

Writer/director Tom Ford has an interesting eye for detail. Through flashbacks, imaginings, and voice over, the audience is allowed inside Firth's head. Ford has the unique ability to really invite the moviegoer into the protagonist's world; it parallels Ron Howard's brilliant direction in 2001's A Beautiful Mind.

I seriously think Ford has the chance to become the next Sam Mendes. Take a look at both of their directorial debuts (A Single Man and American Beauty, respectively). Both mix drama and comedy with ease, and they also boldly take on controversial subject matter. Mendes won an Oscar for his film, and it's a shame that Ford likely will not be nominated this year for Director. For Best Adapted Screenplay, however, I do believe Ford deserves to be nominated. I wouldn't mind if he even took home the gold this year.

As for the performances, they are all top notch. Firth, who has already won an Acting award at the Venice Film Festival, made a risky decision taking on this role. Luckily, he should be awarded plenty come awards season, as his performance is one of the finest of the year. Hoult, who plays the student, was just as good. Firth and Hoult share a scene in which I consider one of the most memorable of all time. I won't give it away, but I will say it involves the ocean. Julianne Moore gives another great performance (has she ever given a bad one?). She also shares a memorable dancing scene with Firth.

Upon viewing a movie, it is always fun to say that I could not have made the film any better. The film is such a delight, with such a beautiful and surprising ending. I can't wait to see what movie Tom Ford makes next.

5 / 5 stars


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