The Beauty of All Senses
When Tom Ford declared that he wanted to distance himself for a while from fashion and direct his first feature I admired his courage…but that was all. Deep down inside I thought he was bored and needed a new “game”. There was not even a small amount of curiosity put aside for his bold attempt. Then I heard that Colin Firth was delighting audiences with the best role of his career and …that’s how I ended in a chair inside a cinema expecting…. pure beauty from “A Single Man“. And yes there’s perfect beauty everywhere…. in the way the objects are arranged on a table, the faces we see passing in front of us for even a few seconds, the flowers, the interiors, the clothes. The cinematography switches from a sepia washed tone of George (Colin Firth)’s depressed mood to vivid colorful when he’s happy about something or just recalling dear memories. Jim-George’s lover died in an accident and in a way they both died together in that moment. After living side by side for 16 years George believes there’s no substitute for such a great love and he just wants to kill himself with a gun. Sure before doing so everything has to be in an immaculate order-his teacher desk from the school’s office, the bank account, the letters for friends and the suit chose for the impending funeral. But which is the best position in terms of comfort, speed and lack of pain when you want to kill yourself with a gun? George is looking for the answer and the scene is the funniest one from the entire film. He tries the shower, he uses a pillow, moves the weapon up and down and the phone finally interrupts his ordeal. It’s Charley (Julianne Moore) his close friend and former flame that wants a bottle of gin for their intimate dinner. The chemistry between Moore and Firth is electrifying so when we watch them dancing, laying on the floor and having a quick war of words is a royal acting feast. Ford chose damn well.
Firth has been always portrayed in movies this stiff gentleman, serious , funny, sarcastic but in the same time disarming and sweet but in a “Single Man” his showing much more. The way he’s wearing sadness, pain and the inconsolable lost of love is incredibly powerful and real. No underlines but each blink of an eye adds more emotion. In a subtle yet convincing way of course. Unfortunately not the same thing can be said about the two kids and the young sexy guys that meet and like George on the course of that day.Often is like witnessing actors reading lines as robots without being one with their characters. It’s a mechanical act and their beauty doesn’t save their performance.
At the end Ford helps you see the beauty of love and strong feelings, the beauty of life’ spontaneous moments and the beauty hidden in details all captured in a symphony of senses that wraps the audience inside and out. George is overwhelmed with emotion when he touches and smells a dog similar to one he used to have, sees bright colors highlighting things he likes and is full of joy when he dances on some good music. At the end of his journey we feel that we wake up from a dream and we’re just eager to live with passion.