A Single Man
Time runs out for the confirmed bachelo
Set in fall of 1962 against a drumbeat of ominous news during the Cuban Missile Crisis, A Single Man is the story of an ebbing life adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s novel by fashion designer Tom Ford in his directorial debut. Colin Firth is able as Falconer, a carefully and comfortably closeted gay man in a society with little tolerance for aberrance of any sort. A cagey social critic in a nation barely recovered from the hangover of McCarthyism, he complains to a colleague that the college’s bovine students aspire to nothing but corporate jobs and raising doltish children, who will amuse themselves by singing soda-pop jingles learned from television. “A world with no time for sentiment is not a world I want to live in,” Falconer says with a note of finality.Ford visualizes Falconer’s thoughts as he slips in and out of past and present with a profusion of images, sometimes illuminating and sometimes not. The director is enamored of arty tics, including grotesque close-ups, which serve no purpose. And yet the mood of his highly stylized treatment of Isherwood’s story, set to a high-strung neo-romantic score, lingers in memory on the strength of the twilight emotions it suggests. A Single Man also stars Julianne Moore as the woman Falconer continues to love, another English expatriate whose dreams have slipped away.