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Movie Review: A Single Man

Alternate Title: Style Over Substance

Story: Oh dear. Fashion designer, turned director, Tom Ford has jumped head first into the movie world. He should have made sure there was water in the pool before he jumped. The film is based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood and written for the screen by Mr. Ford and David Scearce.

It is 1962, Southern California - where we first meet Professor George Falconer. He is overcome with grief months after the sudden death of his long time companion, Jim. Nothing will help his sense of grief, isolation and sorrow so George decides to commit suicide. How he lives what he thinks will be his last day on earth is the bulk of the film.

Director Ford decided to make George's life devoid of color to emphasize his grief. Only his flashbacks allow the screen to become blindingly bright and alive. This technique was overused and quickly became predictably annoying. The style of the film was the main character. Scene after scene, while visually lovely, seemed most of the time to be an advertisement for cologne, ties, appliances, cigarettes or cars. It was too glossy and devoid of substance.

So the bad news is that the film is aesthetically top heavy. The good news is that there are a few fine scenes that show hints of humor and humanity. It is also a fine time waster to be able to watch some of the beautiful men seen up on the big screen. It did not matter to me whether they were gay or straight - they were really nice to watch.

I remember the first time I saw the trailer I wondered why there was no dialogue in the clip. Was it a foreign film? Now that I have seen the movie I know why - it is more like a big advertisement, rather than a movie. There's no need for words when there is so much style. Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC9Zm1UJ7zs

Acting: Colin Firth as George was the heart and heft of the film. I wish Ford has let me emote a bit more every now and then. Julianne Moore as Charley was awful I like Julianne Moore but her accent and over the top performance was embarrassing.Matthew Goode as Jim was fine and Nicholas Hoult as young Kenny did the best he could in a role that was marginally written.

Trivia: Tom Ford is an American fashion designer. He is known for his legendary turnaround of Gucci. When Ford joined Gucci in 1994, the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. By the time he left 10 years later, Gucci was turning over in excess of $3 billion per year. He started his own line of mens- wear in 2006 after a liaison with Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Colin Firth has played a Mr Darcy on three occasions. Once in "Pride and Prejudice" (1995), in Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) and again in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004). Nicholas Hoult was the adorable little boy in 'About a Boy' with Hugh Grant. Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy were longtime companions. Their relationship was made into a film in 2008 called. Chris & Don: A Love Story. You can read my movie review here: http://www.judithwolfe.com/lobosmoviereviews/reviews/chrisdon.html

Predilection: None

Critters: An owl, a cow, a chicken, a pig and a few Fox Terriers. One of the beloved fox terriers is seen in the aftermath of an auto accident. You do not see the dog killed.

Food: Lots of booze.

Sex Spectrum: Sex is the underlying current throughout the film.

Blatant Product Placement: Mercedes, Hershey's chocolate, Lucky Strike, Tanqueray Gin.

Soundtrack: A blend of sounds in the track that is often over the top.

Opening Titles: An underwater dream sequence that ends with the title. All other credits are at the end.

Visual Art: Style, style and more style.

Theater Audience: Fairly crowded with a Chelsea crowd for a Sunday morning show.

Weather: Most of the film takes place in Southern California - ergo, it is nice.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I drifted a bit in the middle.

Predictability Level: I started not to care somewhere around one hour into the film.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: I would not be surprised to see Colin Firth get a nomination or two.

Big Screen or Rental: Oh, go for the big screen and look at all of the pretty boys.

Length: 100 minutes