With this year's Academy Awards fast approaching, yesterday we ventured to the Sunset 5 cinema to see Oscar-nominated Best Actor Colin Firth in Tom Ford's directorial debut, A Single Man.
I've seen most of this year's nominees so wanted to check this movie adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's novel off my Oscar watch list and I'm so glad that I got to see the film on the big screen.
I'm surprised that A Single Man only received one Oscar nod for Colin Firth, as it really is deserving of more. The art direction is stunning, the recreation of 60's L.A. totally convincing, the pacing spot on and the script is amazingly powerful. It's also a very perceptive and honest movie.
Having said that, Colin Firth is truly remarkable as George Falconer, a middle aged English Professor mourning the death of his gay partner of sixteen years whose life has been shattered and contemplates suicide.
Friends of mine who had seen the movie had mentioned they'd found it quite a tough movie to watch, a little depressing even, but I thought it was a wonderful celebratory movie. Yes, he was planning his own suicide throughout the film, but through flashbacks we see a truly loving relationship that he shared with his boyfriend, Jim (played fabulously by Matthew Goode).
As a gay man, it's refreshing to see the depiction of a loving same-sex relationship that isn't scandalous, seedy or self-destructive. It just seemed like a touching, sweet love story.
The moment with the couple sitting together, reading with their dog at their feet listening to records, is perfect and when 'George' sniffs the strangers smooth-coated fox terrier evoking memories, Colin Firth is able to convey so much emotion in that moment.
And finally a movie with mainstream male actors not afraid to kiss on screen, something that Valentine's Day failed to do. It wasn't a passionate, steamy, sordid kiss, it just seemed loving and totally natural.
Julianne Moore as his lush of a friend 'Charley' is also an Oscar-worthy performance, so it's criminal that she didn't get acknowledged and Nicholas Hoult as his student 'Kenny' is mesmerizing at times, especially with the close up of his eyes.
In fact, you can see Tom Ford's fashion editorial influence and photographer's eye throughout the movie. My one criticism would be that at times some scenes do feel a little too staged and a bit like a beauty advertisement, the close up focus on someone's eye or lips.
But overall it's a marvelous piece of cinema from the style of the movie to the soundtrack and the phenomenal acting. It really is true what they say about Colin Firth acting against type, no sign of a 'Mr Darcy' here, which is really refreshing to know he has this range.
A Single Man deserves four **** stars and Colin Firth deserves to win the Oscar for Actor in a Leading Role.
It's not on wide release, but if you get the chance to see the movie on the big screen you must and if not the DVD will be essential viewing...