A Single Man (2009)

With A Single Man, it is style over content, which almost made me give it two caps. The thing is… the content is amazing to begin with. The emphasis on style — which might not be surprising as director Tom Ford is a fashion designer — is almost distracting sometimes.

Yet this is the reason this will be a short review followed by a long stream of pictures. They are in scrambled order, so they won’t spoil you how the film goes.

Ford excells in taking us to the sixties without shoving it down our throats. He and Colin Firth together show us our single man’s pain without a flinch. The flashbacks to George and Jim’s sixteen years spent together only serve to increase the pain. Eight months after the incident Jim is stuck in the depression phase, and throughout the film which depicts what he is determined to make the last day of his live, we see why. And as unusual as it is, George dying does not sound that horrible anymore, because we learn Jim took everything with him and left George only the motions of everyday life.

Never mind the smiles, this is not a happy film.

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31 responses to “A Single Man (2009)

  1. Love the screenshot here. Really gives you an idea of the melancholy of the film. Great stuff Elina!

  2. Yesss I’m so glad you liked this! One of my favourite films of recent times which deals with grief and the process of bereavement (watched it in a grief counselling class, I’m totally not weird for having a category of films like that now). You’re right that the style can be distracting at times. If you loved the content I’d definitely recommend reading the book! So amazing.

    • I will read the book as soon as I get my hands on it! Glad you liked the film, too, and that I wasn’t the only one a bit distracted by the visual.

  3. Excellent review. I might just look into this at some stage!

  4. Great review! It looks dark and broody and just the kind of thing I would pick when it’s my night to choose the movie!

  5. This film is gorgeous. I do agree that the style can be distracting sometimes, but I don’t think it takes away the essence of the film. Rather, the style compliments the content in a way that everything seems done in beauty, even if the content itself is sad and broody. The actors were excellent – Colin Firth has been in a lot of movies, and I must say this is one of his best (and also, one of my favorites). I do hope Tom Ford takes into his hands another film, this can’t simply be his only work.

  6. A very emotional film, which is mainly due to the fact that Firth’s performance is so good. If the Academy wasn’t going to give the “sympathy-award” to Jeff Bridges that year, you bet your rump that Firth would have won. Good review.

  7. Love the screenshots you chose! I actually thought the movie had plenty of substance, your post reminds me I need to write that Visual Parallels about it at last

  8. Good post. I felt that this is one of those movies where the amazing look actually serves a purpose. We talked about it on the last Across the Universe Podcast episode. Maybe you can check that out 🙂

  9. I have owned this movie for at least three years and have never seen a frame of it. Until now.

    Definitely interested in checking it out, as it looks lovely and sad at the same time. Which is funny, because that’s how Firth almost always appears in films.

    • There were a lot of funny moments, actually, but they were all clouded by the overall sad feeling, intensified by how pretty it all looked. But a great film, totally watch it, review it, and tell me what your wife thought. I wonder if she could stay awake…

  10. I think A Single Man would be a completely different movie without the style, without the small details of fashion and looks and.. I don’t know. If it were without it, I think it wouldn’t have such an impact. Besides, the way George sees the world is kind of how the movie shows it.. and I appreciate that. Besides, you chose so many stills from the movie and yet, you didn’t pick my favorite of where Holt’s character wears a fluffy cardigan.. that cardigan man,, that is just pure symbolic bundle of joy! 😀

    • This was such an unique film, beautiful in a way I’ve never experienced before, and I’m sure it would be very different with a different director.

      Hahaha, sorry for that! I loooove Hoult, I often forgot to take screencaps when he was on screen. 😀

  11. Given Tom Ford is the director, I kind of felt that it’d be style over substance. But what style it is, soooo many gorgeous men in this movie, it’s like a fashion photo shoot… which I guess make sense given Ford’s forte.

    • It was like that! I was amazed at how well they managed to have the story be interesting and fit together with the style, nothing short of amazing!

  12. I love the shots you chose! I really enjoyed this film. I thought it was beautiful, and it was so much better than I had expected.

  13. When the movie came out, Oprah remarked that the movie was delicious…and that’s probably the best word I could use to describe it. Wonderful pic post and review!

  14. Great post. I love the look of this film – so gorgeous and haunting. That giant Psycho poster is my favorite. Gives me chills, it’s so beautiful.

  15. Nice post, make sure you check out the book too! it’s beautifully written, and Ford does a good job capturing the style with his visuals

  16. Such beautiful shots, I love this movie!

  17. Nice quick review, and beautiful screen-caps.
    I loved the movie, it was very stylishly done, as you’ve mentioned as well. But have you read the book? I love that even more, and the novella is a very quick read, among my favourite books ever.

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