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Film review: Magnificent ‘Single Man’ shouldn’t be dismissed as simple gay-oriented story

Film review: Magnificent ‘Single Man’ shouldn’t be dismissed as simple gay-oriented story

A gay man dies and his lover mourns. It’s hardly a unique situation, but in Tom Ford’s “A Single Man

A gay man dies and his lover mourns.

It’s hardly a unique situation, but in Tom Ford’s “A Single Man,” delicate truths emerge. My fear is that despite its dramatic excellence and a commanding performance from Colin Firth, the movie will be ignored or relegated to the bin of gay-oriented drama.

It is so much more. “A Single Man” may be about someone like you, especially if you grew up or attained maturity in the 1950s or 1960s. I consider myself a sensitive soul, but back then I took no offense when a pal described a gay man as a “fag” or “queer.” That’s what he was.

‘A Single Man’

DIRECTED BY: Tom Ford

STARRING: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Nicholas Hoult and Jon Kortajarena

RATED: R

RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes

Most of us have escaped those narrow confines, and, if truth be told, I am turned off by the preening and histrionic antics often associated with queeny behavior as much as I am repelled by the sight of moaning jocks at the gym or Bud Bowl grunters at loud parties. Both types are cut from the same cloth.

We have grown into a new state of recognition and appreciation. We, the best of us, have grown more tolerant of others’ differences. But things were not always that way.

Many of us have grown to accept and befriend the gays next door, to honor their relationship. This may strike readers as a condescending observation, but I see it as a sober reality, a sign of hard-earned tolerance.

No such luck for Firth’s George Falconer when his lover is killed in an accident. In the bland 1950s, George has a lone friend, an ex-flame played by Julianne Moore, hardly a replacement for a man he loves. Neighbors are oblivious to his palpable pain; Jim’s family ignores him, refusing to honor their 16-year commitment.

The shining virtue of “A Single Man” is its singular ability to keep its main character in focus. This is the story of a man struggling with the pain of loneliness, a bereft soul trying to find a reason to live.

Based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel, this is one magnificent drama.

Reach Dan DiNicola at [email protected]

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