It’s been almost a week since I’ve seen A Single Man and I’m still a tad hesitant to put up a review.
This isn’t to say that I haven’t formed an opinion nor that I didn’t like the movie. It’s just, to me, feels like one of those movies that’s very internal. Even as I write this, half of me is struggling with the idea and frustrated that I cannot come up with anything that could justify it, either my opinion or a review.
Walking out of the movie, I definitely didn’t think it would affect me as it has. However, sitting down and trying to describe it to someone--anyone really, it’s hard and incredibly frustrating (apparently the word of the day). There are few movies that really grab me. Sure, there are my favourites, ones that capture my interest, are just plain entertaining or that can have swept me away for a few hours. Star Trek, Serenity, I'm looking at you.
However, there are few movies that have really shook something inside of me, or haunt me a little bit. A Single Man, I think, is one of those movies.
Now, I do not regret anything of that night and the fact that Fringe was taping right outside was still extremely special and I’m incredibly happy it happened--I only slightly wish it occurred on a different night so I’d be able to fully digest A Single Man and come up with a more concise opinion.
Most movies I’ve been able to condense my over all impression within 140 characters. I enjoy being able to challenge myself to put one single thought out there to express an over all opinion. Sure, it doesn’t grasp the whole concept and I could probably expound my opinion with nary a problem if the opportunity presented itself. However, this is generally not the case--as there are only so many people I can actually -discuss- movies with. So I tweet it out. And this way I don’t spoil anything.
However, if you read my twitter you’ll see that A Single Man didn’t show up. And that’s not just because Fringe kinda stole the spotlight a bit that night.
Now A Single Man is special to me for many reasons, but probably the foremost is because it’s the first movie I saw by myself.
Sure, you can call me a loser. Call me whatever you like. It was still incredibly satisfying to go to a movie by myself.
It’s been an idea that I’ve been toying with for awhile now. There always comes a point where I find a movie I want to see that I cannot find anyone to see with me. This can be because of many different reasons. Yes, not all of my friends have the same tastes as I do. Some have other people to see it with (don’t lie, you do that too). Some have already seen it. So usually when this happens I don’t watch it. I wait for it to come on DVD or shrug it off. Or I beg someone to come with me.
This can get a little tiresome.
So I had originally brought it up to a few people at my previous work place. They all claimed I was nuts, going to see a movie by myself. Wouldn’t that just be pathetic? I mean, when you see other people do that, don't you feel a little sorry for them?
Me, being naive decided to shrug off the idea and that was that.
Skip to a few months later. Being in my first real committed relationship, still living at home for various reasons and with the same group of friends for the past two years was great. However, I’ve always been quite a dependent person. Whether that is on my mother, who I have a great and very close relationship with, or a friend or the new boyfriend, I was always relying on someone else. In an effort to figure myself out, to create my own space and figure out who I was, I bounced the idea off a friend and he thought it was a good idea. Safe, controlled, easy.
My perfect way to exercise a little bit of independence without jumping off the proverbial cliff.
Sure, it's a small step but it was a very easy and the metaphorical toe in the water that I needed before starting on something bigger.
If you hadn’t guessed by now, I’m a bit of a control freak.
Go ahead, roll your eyes. I do it all the time.
Anyways, so there I am grabbing my ticket. I was a little hesitant as to what the ticket girl would think--which probably says a lot about me that I’d rather not but whatever. However, it went on smoothly (I even got a compliment on my bright pink headphones) and I grabbed my ticket, popcorn and drink and settled in.
To think, all this time what I’ve been missing. Now, I love my friends. I love seeing movies with them. However, the ability to chose where I sit, when I go, where I go and what movie I see was incredibly liberating. (You can say I’m pathetic all you want, it was still nice).
Walking out of A Single Man, however, my opinion shifted slightly.
This is not to say I regretted going by myself. It was a perfectly lovely experience not too far from going with someone else. The only problem is that walking out of A Single Man I immediately wanted to talk to someone about it.
The imagery! The story! The ideas!
So colour me frustrated when I walk out of the theatre and realize that while no one in my circle wanted to see it with me (or in general) I’d also not have anyone to talk to about it.
Now, I’m sure you’ve all read better reviews (seriously, this sums up everything I could ever hope to say about this movie) than I can, so I can only offer my raves.
A Single Man takes place during a seemingly regular day set in the 1960s, following George (Colin Firth), a British professor who has decided to commit suicide as his grief over the loss of his lover, Jim (Matthew Goode) of 16 years who died in a car accident, has over taken him.
Settling into the movie and letting the first scene unfold made me a little anxious. Was I over my head? Was this movie going to be too artsy? Too ‘don’t touch the wall, -feel- the wall’? The theatre I was in didn’t really help matters, I was mostly surrounded by women in their middle ages and a rather artsy couple that all made me feel rather embarrassed to be crunching popcorn in the middle of what seemed like art unfolding.
However, by the end of the film I was swept away. Yes, A Single Man is a gorgeous film to watch, the direction and the use of colour throughout the film shows that Tom Ford has an eye not only for fashion but an eye for art that can be translated into more than clothing. The reviews of his direction are well warranted for what he did, letting the colours bloom before your eyes and captivating the beauty of a smile, or a pretty dress that so grabs George, despite his gloomy out look on life.
This isn’t to say that the film is all easy on the eyes with nothing inside. The reason these things work is of course due to the performances from the cast, in particular Colin Firth who adeptly shows the inner workings of grief through a rather determined and quiet man. He doesn’t need big flashy acting, and Tom Ford lets this unfold quietly and without the need of teary music or lighting to express the pain of losing someone.
That said, the score in this is wonderful and in preparation for writing this, I attempted to listen to it and was swept away with how gorgeous it was.
Upon further reflection--and general frustration at trying to explain myself, I think A Single Man was probably best seen by myself. There was something that felt very personal about the film--I’m not quite sure if this was due to the story line (and the ability that I can relate to it right now) or perhaps just how much emotion a movie could get out of someone. It’s definitely a film that I wouldn’t share with just anyone. It’s like a great secret that you both want to share and keep to yourself.
In one sense you feel this deeply personal connection and want to share it with those who you love and care for. It’s a special thing, finding a movie that can sweep you away like that--despite my initial hesitations. However, to me, it’s not a movie for a first date or even a third date. To me, it would be too easy for someone else to ruin it for me.
This is the type of film I’d want to see with a long time friend. Someone I can trust completely to not ruin it, to not crush that little bit of special of a film being able to really shake you up.
I already know who I’d have seen it if I could have. There’s probably only one person who I’d feel would be able to feel the same things I do, be able to chatter about the direction and decisions made, and be able to justify my attachment.
Yeah, G. I’m looking at you.
Get your ass back here already, I miss you.