“A Single Man” is based on a novel of the same name by Christopher Isherwood starring Colin Firth as George Falconer, a college English literature professor (from England) during the 1960s in Los Angeles. “A Single Man” is produced and directed by fashion designer Tom Ford through his Los Angeles-based production company, Fade to Black, in association with Chris Weitz, Andrew Miano and Robert Salerno. Tom Ford and David Scearce wrote the screenplay.
“A Single Man” is a great highly stylized period piece, a fabulous glass house and colors ranging from sepia hues of the 1960s to shades in black and white circa 1947. Falconer is dealing with his own grief as he struggles with, “An expression of a predicament by just trying to get through the God-damned day” while finding himself so completely alone (after the untimely death of his lover) in his hushed minority of homosexuality. The United States is under the threat of paralyzing fear, fear of the Communists, fear of the Cuban Missile Crisis, terrified of nuclear war, the Cold War grew stronger by the day and bomb shelters were the newest home addition. Falconer’s best friend Julianne Moore as Charlie or “Kiddo” (also from England) copes with all this doom and gloom by drowning her yet-again divorced self with cocktails; morning, noon and night, puffs of cigarette smoke that permeated my senses, 45s on the record player and slurring her words throughout the day on her Princess telephone. Death is their future and silence drowns out the noise of life. Could it be a mystic mention as the movie falls to night, that we see an owl perched on a tree limb and a full moon as the backdrop? After all, the owl is the watchman of the night, the goddess of the night and the angel of death. Are owls clairvoyant as the dark messengers that guide the soul to afterlife or is it the only bird of magic and darkness, of feminine and the moon? This is up to you to decide.
And what else should we expect from Tom Ford, known as an accomplished designer that put Gucci back on the fashion map and in position for the 21st century? It is a visually stunning art film that may ask viewers if times and tolerances have changed that much. Given this was Ford’s premiere; my hope is that we’ll be seeing a lot more of his artistic genius on the big screen in the years to come.
The film has already won a few awards and the nominations are pouring in. Firth has already snagged a best actor win from the Austin Film Critics. He also has the San Diego Film Critics Society Award win along with best score composer Abel Korzeniowski. Firth has also captured the Santa Barbara International Film Festival outstanding performance award. In the Critics Choice Awards, nominations are for Firth, best art direction, best adapted screenplay for Ford and Scearce, and best supporting actress for Moore. For the Golden Globes, it’s best original score for Korzeniowski and actor nods again for Firth and Moore. Other nominations are for Firth in the Screen Actors Guild. He and Moore also are up for the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association. Don’t be surprised to see some Oscar nominations follow.