17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
We remember moments not days!,
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This review is from: A Single Man [DVD] (DVD)Hard one this. On the positive side, a very well written script, director Tom Ford having picked up on it as a novel that struck a chord with him strongly in his early days in LA long before in the '80s and who then collaborated on recently developing the script. Plus excellent performances from all the cast. While Colin Firth is in nearly every scene (given it is a day in his life being recorded) and delivers a truly fierce interpretation, this potentially underestimates the valuable contributions from the other 3 main leads (Matthew Goode, Julianne Moore and Nicholas Hoult). Each in their roles of respectively the dead and much missed lover; the aging divorcee who had a previous affair and is now facing great personal loneliness; and the inquisitive student looking for answers and willing to experiment, all nail their characters perfectly. This is especially the case with Moore who as with the other leads, in the short separate "Making of" extra affirms the insights that helped her shape her role to be so spot on.
On the down side, there is no doubt this movie was directed and co-produced as well as co-written by Ford. It has all the hallmarks of his standards and control of all facets seen in other areas of his personal work and that the story is almost a "cri de coeur" from his own experiences are both well evidenced in the "Making of" extra, including Ford's high personal discipline levels in shooting the movie over 21 days. Yes it has very high production values, interesting music and is well filmed with a great look and feel but at the end of the day ends up being a tad too beautiful in everything for my tastes. Examples would be the failed encounter with a Spanish hustler which borders on a Versace/Dolce & Gabanna advert shoot and did students and office staff in the early '60s all look or dress like they all walked out of Vanity Fair?
I suspect I am being hard on the movie and on future viewings will begin to appreciate more of the subtle shades that are present. Certainly there is much to admire from the painfully funny trying to get comfortable to commit suicide scenes to the use of silences and facial expressions to deliver what words cannot by all characters but Firth especially. The old quote from Michael Caine I think, that in the cinema it is the use of the camera on actors' eyes and facial expressions that deliver great performances is definitely proven here in bucket loads. Also the film is about those short moments that people remember all their lives and not days or events so will always differ from the more mainstream US movie industry output.
The reason for 3 stars (it was almost 4 I must admit) is that this is a very hard film to watch and not one for pleasurable entertainment or easy viewing which in itself is not fatal but as stated earlier I suspect Tom Ford's control of it as a very personal statement is the reason it leaves you feeling either loving it or slightly overpowered!