Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Three and a half Snouts up for A Single Man

(:)(:)(:)(: for A Single Man
(published first on the Sacramento Bee NorCal voices blog)

Colin Firth should win best actor for his performance in A Single Man. See it while it lasts at Sacramento's magnificent Crest Theater--though the film will probably be moved downstairs unless the crowd increases this weekend from last.

This first film for former fashion designer Tom Ford is not perfect. The movement from present time to flash back is sometimes awkward. The line between tragic drama and black comedy too blurry and some of the screen shots, while beautiful, scream "fashion designer director" just a little too loudly for my taste.

Yet, this focus on Colin Firth (looking oh-so-1960s Michael Caine with his skinny black tie and large frame glasses), an english professor in L.A. who has just lost his lover of 16 years is a must see. I don't know if I'll ever get out of my mind the scene where Firth hears of his lover's death from his lover's cousin. Firth's lived with the man 16 years and, it being 1960, is told (as no doubt so many were), that he isn't invited to the memorial it being "just family."

Yet, as reviewers and the director have noted, this isn't a "gay film" (although it is a gay story with lots of gorgeous boys trying to pick up Colin on the same day). Despite the serious subject matter, I didn't find it a depressing film. There are lots of parts that are damn funny, particularly the scene with the sleeping bag and the pillows. The marvelous dinner between Firth and his best friend Julianne Moore alternates between hilarity and unforgiveable utterances the way drunken evenings between friends can.

To me, it's a story about the depth of despair that we can feel and how alone we can persist in being even when there are angels all around who love us and want us to survive.

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