A SINGLE MAN
What If Woody Allen Were a Homosexual Intellectual?
Release Date: December 11, 2009
Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore,
Matthew Goode, and Nicholas
Runtime: 99 minutes
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Director: Tom Ford
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Tom Ford, Chris Weitz, Andrew
Miano, and Robert Salerno
Writer: Tom Ford and David Scaerce
Address Comments To:Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairmen
The Weinstein Company
345 Hudson Street, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (646) 862-3400; Fax: (917) 368-7000
The movie traces George’s movements, thoughts, and human interactions as he goes about wrapping up his personal affairs before shooting himself. In the meantime, George dines with the English woman who has been his friend before he met Jim. There is a touching, funny conversation with a neighborhood girl, whom George finds is not as shallow as he thought she was. George also has an intense philosophical discussion with one of his young male students, who ends up visiting with George that night in his house after a drunken skinny dip in the ocean. Finally, flashback scenes between George and Jim are meant to show how wonderful homosexual relationships can be.
Loosely based on a novel by homosexual author Christopher Isherwood, A SINGLE MAN is about more than just George’s homosexuality and his dead partner, though it contains many scenes showing George’s immoral desire for other, younger men, including the student. Also, there is nothing much redemptive about the protagonist’s emotional conclusion that it’s the small things in life, including brief feelings of human companionship, that make life worth living. Also, a harbinger of death hangs over the story. This leads to a tragic, nihilistic ending that contradicts the positive aspects of the movie’s Romantic message about life worth living. The ending seems confusing when juxtaposed against the protagonist’s final optimistic conclusion about life.
In some ways, the protagonist’s immoral worldview and lifestyle reminds one of a more serious Woody Allen. It also reminds one of some kind of New Age, Pantheistic Buddhism. In fact, the director, and co-screenwriter, mentions some Eastern connections between him and the original novel’s author, Christopher Isherwood, in the production notes. These references are not very clearly seen in the movie, however, which adds more confusion.
Of course, the filmmakers obviously don’t know there is hope, healing, and joy in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ and in the eternal afterlife a follower of Jesus will enjoy. And, gratitude to Jesus for what He suffered on the Cross for us can bring us a level of eternal peace and joy which is infinite and everlasting. This is not based merely on feelings, however, but comes with an objective study of and washing in God’s Word, the Bible, which contains unfathomable depths of truth, beauty, and profundity. Such grace and gratitude can inspire us to do great feats for God in this life, as well as in the next. It also offers forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life for sinners, including those engaging in homosexual sins, but only if the sinner repents and puts their faith in God through Jesus Christ and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.
In the end, this movie could have done without all the multiple, super-intense homosexual looks by its protagonist toward younger men. There are more shots of upper male nudity in this movie than in a 10,000 page Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue (we kid)! Looking back, these shots just seem rather silly than informative. They also seem to reflect the Romantic elements of the movie’s overall worldview. Perhaps, they also show why it is often easy to mock and satirize the aesthetic style of such intense Romanticism, which the particularly corny Hollywood movies of the Golden Age often borrowed. A SINGLE MAN is more deft at portraying this attitude and style, however. It’s also not quite as silly as the much over-rated, more insipid, more annoying, and less accomplished BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.
A SINGLE MAN is about more than just George’s homosexuality but contains many scenes showing George’s immoral desire for other, younger men, including the student. There is nothing much redemptive about the protagonist’s emotional conclusion that it’s the small things in life, including brief feelings of human companionship, that make life worth living. Finally, a harbinger of death hangs over the story. This leads to a tragic, nihilistic ending that seems to contradict the positive aspects of the Romantic view about what makes life worth living.