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Single Man, A (DVD Review)

30 Jun, 2010 By: Billy Gil

Street 7/6/10
Sony Pictures
Box Office $9.2 million
$27.96 DVD, $34.95 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for some disturbing images and nudity/sexual content.
Stars Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Ginnifer Goodwin, Nicholas Hoult, Lee Pace.

Tom Ford’s directorial debut is not only a sterling first film (and one of the best of last year), it is a visually stunning piece of work by the fashion-designer-turned-director, one that begs to be re-watched on DVD and Blu-ray.

Colin Firth has the best performance of his career as middle-aged professor George, struggling to deal with the grief of losing his partner (Matthew Goode) tragically in an accident. Now George lives his life closed off to the world. But a heavy decision makes everything in George’s life suddenly seem to spark and shine in a way he has never before noticed.

Ford magically captures this day in George’s life, full of saturated hues and slow-moving imagery. In the DVD commentary, he explains each scene as it relates to the film and its story (Ford, a world-famous fashion designer, adapted the screenplay from a novel by Christopher Isherwood), rather than from a highly technical viewpoint.

There are small things, such as how a previously pesky little girl who lives by George suddenly seems idyllic and pristine, as George divorces negative feelings from the things in his life. Ford’s commentary lends more credence to his filmmaking and helps explain that some of the aesthetic choices made weren’t for the sake of superfluous beauty (including a gorgeous cast of supporting players) but rather to show how George’s life suddenly snaps into view, and everything seems all the more sensational for it.

A making-of featurette shows the actors really learned the story and characters of A Single Man well, going far beyond the typical love-fest you sometimes see on DVD. Stars Julianne Moore and Nicholas Hoult (both of whom could have easily been nominated for Oscars, as Firth was) get inside the story and the heads of their characters — respectively, George’s best friend, who dreads life as an old maid after her marriage dissolves, and a young student who takes a keen interest in George and helps him realize the value of his life.

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