Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Single Man's Lovely Bones

Is it a Gay Heresy to admit that you didn't love A Single Man, gay icon and fashionista Tom Ford's directorial debut? A Single Man, based on the Christopher Isherwood novel, follows George (Colin Firth) a grieving middle aged professor through a typical day as he eyes attractive students, ponders suicide, resents his neighbors and makes plans with his best friend (a sozzled Julianne Moore). He's still grieving his dead lover Jim. Jim is played by the fantastically attractive Matthew Goode in flashbacks (his second time playing a perfect human specimen this year, see also Watchmen, such flattering typecasting!)

There's a lot to recommend in George's journey through grief: Colin Firth and his leaking eyeballs are so stupendous and moving that he's surely Oscar-nomination bound (it's enough to forgive his previous nonsensical gayness in Mamma Mia!), Julianne Moore is funny and bracing even if the role is nothing much, and the men are all outrageously beautiful. But what does it all mean?

For more on A Single Man and The Lovely Bones read my weekly column at Towleroad.
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18 comments:

Michael said...

I liked A Single Man and The Lovely Bones but the problem with this year's Oscar films are that they are just okay or good. Nothing, except for The Hurt Locker, are excellent.

I can't wait until Avatar next week.

Michael said...

I also feel like Colin Firth should win the Oscar for A Single Man. His performance was beyond fantastic.

Oh, and as I watched Julianne Moore in ASM I wished that someone like Natasha Richardson had done it. While Moore was good, I feel like a true Brit would have knocked it out of the park.

Kir said...

Moore was good but I agree with you Nathaniel. Madonna would have been amaaaaaaaazing@

Jim T said...

I haven't seen Lovely Bones but form the clips I watched, it seemed as if there was not one second without music. Is it true? And is it a bit tiring?

NATHANIEL R said...

@Michael -- oooh, great suggestion. Of course, Miranda Richardson could knock any role out of the park, couldn't she?

@Jim -- yes the music, like everything else is never not beating you over the head

Jim T said...

I still haven't got it. Is Avatar legitimate for the Globes?

Andy said...

I really, really loved A Single Man, and I fully support a win for Colin Firth, even though he'll probably lose to Jeff Bridges or Clooney.

Best of all: Tom Ford captured an incredible performance by Julianne Moore. I've never been much of a fan of hers, but I thought she really hit it out of the park in the little amount of screentime that she had. I wanted more Moore!

Billy D said...

I'm so glad you've tempered the waters for me about ASM. I'm getting so much more disillussioned with this whole "It's not a gay story" marketing meme. I am hoping that Julianne notches another nomination though, so that she's remembered in the collective Academy memory perhaps next year or the year after that.

notanotherblog said...

I'm gonna be nice to this movie since I will write a bigger blasphemy and prefer to shit on Milk instead of this movie.

The bank scene (all of it) was nice. But otherwise, it's not that it's not a gay story, the book more than that. And the fact that the other themes weren't fully touched upon to focus on the gay aspect take s a chunk out of the spirit of the narrative.

And I haven't seen Crazy Heart, but Firth will lose to Clooney.

UZ said...

Damn, that's it, a C+? Oh well, I'm still looking forward to seeing this. I've been waiting for Colin Firth to get his due for a long time, and this seems to be the right film at the right time for that to happen.

Faux said...

I see your updates for supporting actress... do you really think Farmiga is in over Julie Ann or Penny? I wonder if AMPAS could change Marion from lead to supporting (it'll be a right move), and I actually see both Cotillard and Cruz make the cut. Once again, probably that fifth slot could be a race between Farmiga, Julianne and Judi Dench. (Everybody thinks Mo'Nique and Kendrick are locks.) Samantha Morton as spoiler? or The Messenger is really overrated? if Harrelson can sneak in... But I suspect they will love Nine (and Marshall and Weinstein, haha) more than critics do and the best bet for now is Penélope. Marion, in lead, could have a big fight if they love sooooo much Mirren and Bullock. I'm waiting only for SAG nominations next week. They could reveal some part of this riddle.

Michael said...

The Blind Side got a standing ovation at the SAG screening a few nights ago so I suspect Bullock will get a Best Actress nomination over Cotillard since the only time the audience interrupted at the Nine Sag screening was after Fergie's Be Italian...

Alex said...

Michael just made me really sad thinking about how great Natasha Richardson would've been in "A Single Man" :( RIP

Caden said...

Agreed on A Single Man. I liked it, especially the Firth and Moore performances, but there were things about the direction, like the at-times weird jagged cuts (and it seems like so many close-ups of cigarettes getting lit), that were distracting and made me feel like I was watching a Tom Ford commercial.

It was a good story and so well acted -- but the "beauty" stuff that's getting so much attention is, in my opinion, part of what didn't work about it.

Rick said...

There is nothing wrong with not caring for The Single Man because it deals with a gay leading man... I am heterosexual and there a lot of movies where I do not care for the lead male role.

Criticlasm said...

I saw it this weekend, and loved Colin Firth. The preciousness of it worked for me in certain scenes, most notably in the liquor store pickup. I was annoyed with the score, and thought he'd watched "The Hours" too many times, but mostly I wasn't annoyed with the formal risks. At least someone is taking them somewhere (I'm talking to you, Rob Marshall)

I do like that it's a movie about grief and not about "being gay" since one of the arguments of the film is that our relationships are just as valid and deep as straight relationships. That he did that while hinting at just how closeted everyone had to be I thought was great. I think also stressing just how invisible gay men were was great.

That said, I'm re-reading the book. And I loved Firth's performance, but it would have been nice to see a 58 year old George as in the book. Revolutionary to see an older gay man just trying to live his life. But I guess that's a place we aren't there. And think Tom Ford is allergic to anything not seemingly perfect - though luckily he allowed JM to be a mess--loved that.

dchowe8 said...

I really like ASM. I found it very moving. And Tom Ford's designer's eye did a lot for the movie. Things were both rarefied and familiar, bizarre and plausible.

As for the suggestion that Madonna would have been amaaaaaazing, give me a break. She'd look just fine in period costume of course, but the woman has no screen presence at all and simply can't impersonate a human being on screen. I bristled a bit at Moore's accent, but she's the real thing: an actress who supresses her vanity and her persona in order to allow the character to live and breathe. Madonna can't do that.

Samantha Cara said...

CultureCritic posted a competition for A Single Man poster signed by Tom Ford! http://tinyurl.com/yjuhcvj