An unhappy man

"A Single Man" is past its prime in terms of shock value

| Jan 24, 2010


A Single Man looks terrific and strives to be momentous, but to steal a line from the legendary animator Chuck Jones, deep down it is pretty shallow.

The time is 1962, and Colin Firth plays George Falconer, a college professor of literature in Los Angeles who is gay.

Firth has already won a Best Actor award for this role and has received other Best Actor nominations, as well.

hotshots-logoThe story begins one morning when George wakes up, and we hear him say in a voice-over, “For the past six months, waking up has actually hurt.”

You see, six months earlier George’s lover, Jim, was killed in an automobile accident, and George’s heart was broken. George can’t see his future.

But today, he has decided, will be different. George gets dressed, and he puts a novel by Aldous Huxley and an empty revolver in his briefcase, which appear to be ominous, but all will be explained later.

Throughout the film, we see unsettling images that don’t appear to have anything to do with the story, and we also get flashbacks that represent George’s memories of his life with Jim and the 16 years that they were together.

When George arrives at his office, a secretary tells him that she had given his home address that morning to a student who had asked for it. That student turns out to be Kenny, a young man in George’s literature class, and Kenny will keep turning up in the story.

Julianne Moore plays Charlotte, who also plays an important role in the story, and who is a close friend of George’s and the first one he turned to for comfort the night he was informed of Jim’s death.

There are also interactions with a neighbor family that don’t seem to have anything to do with the story except to establish that George isn’t very sociable on this day, which he admits is kind of a serious day for him.

George claims that he is exactly what he appears to be, if you look closely enough, but he does have some surprises for the audience in his behavior on this day in his life.

A Single Man is simply a day in the life of an unhappy man, but the story is past its prime in terms of shock value in every aspect.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”


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