I saw the A Single Man a couple weeks ago, in one of those “split date” things my wife and I go on, where we see the same movie in the same weekend, then compare notes. It’s the story of George (Colin Firth), a British gay man and a professor in 1962 Los Angeles, who lost his life partner (Matthew Goode) and is just trying to get through the day. His public grieving is limited and his lover’s family don’t even allow him to the funeral. He’s friendly to the housewife neighbor (Ginnifer Goodwin of Big Love), but her husband is less than friendly. His only real friend is fellow British expat Charley (Julianne Moore), who has issues of her own. One of his colleagues (Lee Pace from Pushing Daisies) represents the Cold war backdrop of this movie.

I certainly understand why Firth was nominated for an Academy Award for his role. His character is quite in need of structure in his life. Even when George lets go a little, it’s honed with a certain British reserve. There’s a surprisingly darkly funny sequence near the end of the film.

Tom Ford is a rookie director, a fashion designer and former Gucci executive who also wrote the screenplay based on the Chris Isherwood novel. While he tells a succinct tale, occasionally he would engage in cinematic trickery that was at times more irritating than enlightening. Julianne Moore is fine in her role, but Ford made her look every one of her 47 years, and then some.

I read someone describe the film as somnambulant, and I do understand his point. This is not a Michael Bay movie. Not much happens in A Single Man, yet quite a bit does.

Recommended, unless you’re only a fan of action flicks, in which case this will undoubtedly bore you silly.
A few years ago, probably after seeing her in the 2002 movies Far from Heaven and the Hours, I had a dream about Julianne Moore. I almost never dream about real people I don’t know. Anyway, I saved her from some some peril – getting hit by a car, I believe. She was grateful, and we became pen pals, with her sending me autographed photos and tickets to her movies. [Alas, I woke up.)


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