Monday, October 18, 2010

Shooting A Single Man

Being made by a fashion designer, Tom Ford, A Single Man was always going to be a beautifully dressed up movie. There are scenes in this movie which seem to perfectly describe the whole movie with their lyrical beauty and spellbinding nature. This movie is the perfect example of why fashion and movies should get together more often.

George finds himself, waking up from what looks like a restless sleep, which a jar of ink spilled over his sheets. He dabs a bit of ink on his finger and puts it up to his lips. I don't know exactly what it is about that scene, whether it be the sadness we are feeling for a character we barely even know yet, or the sheer profoundness we have of loneliness and our ability to connect to his situation. Seeing George, lying there, thinking about taking the first step to his day, is something that we all understand, but it isn't a feeling we like to feel often.

Ah, the beauty of Julianne Moore is enough to make me weak. Here, unlike George, her character is thrown at us in the first minutes she appears. She seems like an uptight drama queen who likes to party and does so to forget about her miserable past life. Charley may be aging, but she knows exactly what life is and knows how she wants to spend it, even if that means trying in the hardest way to get what she wants. This scene shows that...the way she leans back, deeply pleased with herself, in that sort of 'I just got what I want' kind of way.

One of the things I love about A Single Man is that it is an observation of a day, and doesn't spare any moments which would have been cut in a more precisely edited film. George's commute to work-a slow motion piece down his street-adequately shows his relationships with the people he sees most: his neighbours. His observations of them is that Mrs. Strunk is a highly strung housewife who can't help but feel a little disappointed with her life. If she had her way, she would still be a singer. Instead, she has a few kids (one which is a little brat) and a husband to tend to. George feels sorry for their lives, as they are living within the limits of a suburban lifestyle. Sounds a little like Revolutionary Road, yes?

I love these two. Well, mostly Nicholas Hoult. Every time they appear together on screen they are like real-life models on a magazine page. They're young, they're insanely good-looking, and they are hip. Lois is pretty much a walking cigarette ad, and Kenny is just a picture of innocence and beauty. I still don't get their relationship they had going on, but who cares? They're very good to look at, so nothing else matters.

The scene where George meets Mrs. Strunk and her daughter in town is a very interesting one. Jennifer, the daughter, approaches George innocently but you can tell she feels a little threatened by his quiet and often distant nature. This scene only makes the whole thing even more sad because Jennifer obviously wants to get to know her neighbour a bit better; Mrs. Strunk invites him around to a party, an invitation which he rejects because...well, you know why. I'm sure George continues to feel sorry for their lives: sweet natured people trapped in a suburban dream. I feel sorry for Mrs. Strunk. I mean, look at how wonderful she looks? And look at how bored she is with her life.

This is my personal favourite shot of the whole movie. The contrast of the pink Californian sky (seen later in the same scene) and this huge billboard for Psycho is literally one of the most beautifully disturbing things I have ever seen. I guess this background sort of symbolizes George's annoyance with life and how everybody sees him (because he is gay). Major WIN for the art design department!

Carlos. That's all I have to say about that.

The suicide kit. Everything George needs to end his life. This shot is so sombre but also has a dark humour to it: George is very organized and ensures that he goes out with a bang (get it? Okay, I know that was bad taste...)

Charley is the epitome of a flawed masterpiece. On the outside, she seems perfect; however, the cracks of her past and the aging that is seeping through them are starting to show. This adequately describes her character. Charley regrets most of her life, has decided now that she wants to get the most out of it while she still can, and has a longing love for her friend George, someone she knows she can't have. She's almost like a teenager trapped inside an adults body.

Two fractured souls in a conversation, mainly about all the things they regret in life. I really hope that one day I don't turn out like either of them. But I think that's what we are all destined for.

Nicholas Hoult and that sweater! Usually, a simple sweater doesn't completely compliment a character, but in this case it does. That sweater pretty much makes sure the camera can caress Nicholas Hoult's face and give him all the charm and innocence in the world. What that sweater does is devestatingly beautiful. And I'm pretty sure it symbolizes peace in George's life since Kenny seems like an almost God-like figure in the unfurling of George's day. Kenny meant the difference between George's depression and George's eventual happiness.

George comes to the realization that life is still worth living and has undone the whole movie for us. I felt really happy then, like all that weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

But...kill me now. Thanks for making me cry for hours.


  1. So we're both in love with such movies as 'Inception, 'The Dark Knight', and... 'A Single Man' (for sure, there are more but these are too distinctively our favorites). I love everything about this film. The style is very sophisticated and appealing. The change of colors is beautiful, too. *sigh*, I can praise this movie like forever.

    By the way, I think that relationships between Kenny and Lois were just the same as those of George and Charley in their youth: from brief romance to enduring friendship. I suppose, George saw the young himself in Kenny. It's just my opinion.

    Thank you for great post. It's always awesome to read someone's writigs of praise about one of the fave films. Have a wonderful weekend.

  2. Aw thank you! I'm so glad someone else is in love with the movies which I love to death!

    And it's always great to hear your comments! Have a wonderful weekend too!


You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.


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