A Single Man

September 27, 2014


This is a commendable sophisticated look at gayness. The sophistication lies in the effort at making homosexuality effortless in an age where it could only survive as thus. Of course with such a politically charged issue, it is extremely difficult for a critic to separate the work from the process of creating the work. For instance, it was hard for me to deter my concentration from imagining how that twink opposite of Professor Faulkener got his role, as well as the legitimacy of this film as an academy award nominated best motion picture. Which is not fair to the director, hence the inapplicability to the discussion.


What makes this film digressive from the political mantle pieces of queerness trumpeted by the Academy is that the issue is a non-issue in this film. Mr. Ford the director demonstrates quite flawlessly the humanity of these quote minorities. They are just like us, in that they are different than everyone else. Which forthrightly includes existential issues and matters about love and lives worth living. True, the film is able to indulge us in the tense courtship of the homosexual male amongst the sea of hetereos. How quickly the detection is on each party on how they bend is entertaining to see and thankfully central to the thesis of the invisibility of a person, the isolation of his existence. Is his solitary against, which is in friction, the world of people? Why does he have to be in opposite of anyone simply because he is not anyone but himself?


And here is the extraordinary difficulty of attempting to hold in the center of the film a meditation on homosexuality and a meditation on human existence. The success of the film as stated is not veering into pandering to GLAAD. But it does not reach enough into giving us an exciting insight into the uniqueness of the queer query into the meaning of life. It is disappointing in other words that the loss of a loved one is so similar and hence so mediocre. That Professor Faulkener is really just a type-cast, a stock figure of the artistic world only that his luxury from being middle-aged and single comes from predisposition and not narcissism.


It’s good to also point out that Mr. Ford does not play with the early 60’s setting found in itself like Mad Men often times does. It just is, like how we treat the contemporary. It isn’t self-aware toward nausea. Yet again, we could have found more uniqueness to the character as he mixed with this age.


So what is missing? How could have this been more perfect? The complaint is also the commendation. Is it possible that being gay is no different than being straight with only the people in the story are different while the problems in life are the same? Because homosexuality is a central theme to A Single Man it must make a bolder assertion: not that we are all the same, but that we are all different.


Grade: B+



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