Saturday, December 12, 2009
A beautiful dull single man
I was really excited to see "A Single Man". The trailer was great, probably the best trailer of the year. So excited, because of the trailer, I blogged about this movie three times. Also I felt an obligation as a gay man. It was made by a contemporary gay icon, based on a book by a literary gay icon and full of beautiful men. I had to be there opening night. So I rallied the troops, gathered friends together and off to the Chelsea Clearview we went.
I settled in to be amazed. I was ready for it. 10 minutes in, still waiting. 20 minutes in, still waiting. 30 minutes in, one of my friends says" this is just terrible, isn't it?". I was not ready to give up yet. So I defended the movie and said "it looks gorgeous", which it did. It ended and I still was not ready to give up. The four of us went to dinner. 2 clearly hated it, one liked it very much but mainly because he thinks Colin Firth is "the ideal man". I was on the fence. This was supposed to be great. The new great gay movie. Off we discussed through dinner. I was defending at the beginning. But I could not go on, the points made against it were right. The best I could muster was "look we are still talking about it, 2 hours later". Yeah right.
Then I had to face the facts. This movie was just not good. It was boring, unlikeable, could not build empathy with its lead character. It was a magazine photo spread come to dull life. But everything and everyone look so beautiful. A little too beautiful. Every end table, every painting, every dress, every necktie....gorgeous but no life. Really Tom Ford, hustlers who lurk about outside liquor stores look like fashion models?
Clearly Ford was influenced by Wong Kar Wei and Alomodovar. Two of my favourite directors. You could see that in many frames of the movie. But this script he wrote and these characters, were just bad. And no abundance of beautiful images could save this movie.
Firth was OK. He had one great scene. His Oscar clip obviously. When he receives news on the phone that his lover dies and his face completely crumbles before our eyes. But I did not find myself empathizing with him or with his his loss. He just seemed smug and the relationship with the dead lover, told in flashback, was very Mills and Boone. All pseudo intellectual banter by the fireplace and no real passion.
And why is Julianne Moore getting all this awards buzz? She was hardly in the movie. Okay she does a credible English accent. But the character is despicable. Even misogynist. A has been party girl still pinning for her gay friend. Pinning so much he insults him and his relationship? Just didn't get her.
Sorry Tom Ford. I was ready and willing to love your movie and then shout it from the rooftops. But no you had to go and make this beautiful boring piece of crap, despite your talent. Maybe next time? To paraphrase another Isherwood character, Sally Bowles. "It's gotta happen, happen sometime". Try again.