41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
When you feel you have nothing left to live for,
Based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood, the film follows one day in the life of George Falconer, a gay British University lecturer living in California. His male partner has died recently in a car accident and George is left understandably devastated. His partner's family deny him his right to attend the funeral and so grieve for his partner properly. Instead we find him in a state of limbo - trying to continue with the demands of daily life while finding life without his partner impossible. The film is set in 1962 and the Cuban missile crisis being at its height provides a suitable backdrop for someone contemplating if there is any point in carrying on.
It sounds like this would make for depressing viewing but somehow it doesn't. George is brilliantly portrayed by Colin Firth in a role completely different to the rom-coms he is so often associated with. For me, he was utterly convincing and really manages to convey this character in an understated yet sympathetic way. There are also flashes of real humour throughout. Julianne Moore plays his gin-soaked, ex-pat best friend, who seems to have been based on Ab Fab's Patsy. I usually love Julianne Moore but I found her self-indulgent character a little difficult to reconcile with the rest of the film. I haven't read the book though so maybe this is exactly how she is portrayed.
The film is directed by Tom Ford, the ex-Creative Director of Gucci, and is, as you would expect, a real visual treat. Painstaking care and attention has been lavished on ensuring the era is perfectly captured and I felt I had been transported back to the sixties. Apparently the design team that was used for the film was the same one that worked on the TV series Mad Men, which is set in the same era. One of the aspects of the direction that stood out for me when watching the film was Ford's use of colour. With the washed out grey and brown tones throughout much of the film, we are very much able to glimpse the world through George's eyes, which makes the rarer flashes of colour all the more poignant.
In parts it reminded me a little of The Hours, another great film about love, life and loss.