A Single Man
George (Colin Firth) is a gay professor whose boyfriend, Jim (Matthew Goode), has died in an automobile accident as the movie starts. It devastates George so he plans his last day, planning on killing himself at the end of it. Too bad he just didn’t take the bull by the horns and do it in the morning. Then I wouldn’t have had to sit through the film.
This is directed by Tom Ford, a gay designer. I couldn’t understand why Daniel Craig, the new James Bond, said he wanted to have James engage in a gay sex act in a future film. Tom Ford is the designer chosen by Daniel Craig to clothe him in the James Bond films. Now I understand Craig’s idiotic idea.
George has a next door neighbor, Charley (Julianne Moore), who has the hots for George. Apparently they had a sexual relationship in the past and Charley (an interesting choice of a name for a female character; apparently Ford couldn’t live with a female character with a real woman’s name like Mary or Susie) never got over it.
George has a student, Kenny (Nicholas Hoult, who was the “boy” in 2002’s “About a Boy,” a film I thought the best of the year), who is of ambiguous sexuality. Kenny has a girlfriend, but Kenny seems to come on to George.
Ford, who was born in 1961, did incredibly shoddy research on this film. As one example, he presents a dishonest picture of how people actually acted in the 1958, which is when this movie is set, three years before Ford was born. There are scenes of students smoking during class while George is teaching. I was attending UCLA in 1958. I never saw anybody smoke in class, ever, and we had very large classes. I went to law school at the University of Virginia in the ‘60s and never saw anyone smoke in class, ever. I asked my girlfriend, who attended UCLA in the mid-60s, if she ever saw anyone smoke in class, and she didn’t. All these people Ford pictures smoking in class in 1958 is pure fiction. Everybody seems to smoke in this movie. But that’s not the way it was then. More people smoked than now, but it wasn’t as pervasive as it was in the ‘30s and ‘40s, and if people smoked in class was a rarity, if it ever happened at all.
As another example of his deplorable research, in one scene there is a huge poster of Janet Leigh for the movie, “Psycho.” Alas, “Psycho” was released in 1960. It wasn’t even in pre-production in 1958, so there couldn’t possibly have been a poster for it.
There’s not much to this film, other than watching Firth act, and that’s not enough to justify the price of admission or a Best Picture nomination. If it had been about a heterosexual love affair, it never would have seen the light of day. All George does is go through the day. This film is about as entertaining as watching ice melt.
Sitting through the movie and seeing that it’s nominated for Best Picture, it called to mind what Joseph E. Levine said about Truffaut and Fellini, “some of these films are liked by the critics and nobody else.” Maybe the Academy liked this film, but I’ve spoken with very few others who did.