Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The 99-Minute Cologne Ad

"Commentary" on A Single Man aside, I'd like to hear from the appreciators' of Tom Ford's movie. I was suspicious when I saw the trailers and most of the reviews since have only made me more so. All the way from Anthony Lane's New Yorker review

We know, for instance, how English professors dress: some trim-suited and clerical, others avuncular in tweed, many too deep in Dryden to be bothered with their outward crust, and one or two no better than compost heaps. Not this lot. They look as spry and as spotless as an advertising spread in L'Uomo Vogue. Who's in charge here, for heaven's sake—a fashion designer?

to my very local Gazette's partly favorable review: "Unfortunately, Ford falls victim to the trappings of a young film student." And it's just laughable the idea that Colin Firth at 48 (or even 58!), and no matter how dressed, would have trouble or doubts about picking up just about anybody he wants (unless he were truly psychotic)!

1 comment:

Terry said...

I don't particularly trust New Yorker reviewers, ever since Pauline Kael departed (and then she was often contentious), but I found Lane's remarks stereotypical and untrue. And you need to ask why -- was he simply being snooty because a fashion designer dare to pose as a cinema director? When I was an undergraduate at Brown, the tutor at my dormitory was a Briton who taught classics and who was always immaculately dressed, not in fusty tweeds and rumpled trousers but well cut slacks and pullovers, shoes always polished. Most of my dorm-mates, like myself, had a crush on him.

Having seen the film, I found Firth's performance very persuasive: understated and thoughtful in a softer, more cerebral way, sort of an approachable Mr. Darcy. He projects intelligence, which is why he is so right for the role, but also a vulnerability that is related to the loss of his lover. In class, he seemed animated, sad, yet willing to extend himself to students while refraining from acting younger than his years -- an alluring combination. You can understand why he attracted Kenny and the hustler at the mall, and why he resisted overtures from both until Kenny's persistence at the end of the film seemed to merit reward. I wasn't award of fashion while watching this film.

I don't know the background of the local movie critic in Rockville, but I wouldn't discredit Tom Ford on this directorial debut. For those who liked the book, I think it's worth seeing. Firth makes George an exceptionally interesting person and an arresting gay man.