A Single Man (2009)

(In theatres, February 2010) I can see how this film would pack an emotional wallop for people in particular circumstances.  The story of a widower in terminal stage of grief, A Single Man moves with great deliberation as it follows one man’s last day.  As he closes off parts of his life, we see him slowly complete his isolation.  Tremendously affecting stuff, except for the part where I don’t really understand the character’s plight or care for the way it’s portrayed.  Even featuring more slow-motion shots than any John Woo movie, A Single Man has trouble making it the 100-minutes mark and it feels about twice as long despite a surprising amount of wit and sly humour.  A study in controlled cinematography, fifties set design, closeted passion (including a color saturation motif that gets stale more quickly than it is used) and deliberate direction, it’s not as if A Single Man isn’t successful in what it achieves: it’s just that its objectives are very different from what many moviegoers will be looking for.  Colin Firth, at least, is magnificent as the haunted lead character: I saw the film because of his Oscar nomination, and the least I can say is that it’s deserved.  As for the rest, well, I’ll let other people judge of its effectiveness.

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