A Single Man. Movie Poster. http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/a-single-man/images/22582033/title/single-man-poster-photo
A British, gay, university professor living in Los Angeles is thrown into disbelief and depression after the death of his lover of 16 years Jim. The film starts off very sureal, there is a person moving around in water and the camera flicks back and fourth to a veichle, crashed in the snow. This is the first time the viewers meet both Jim and George. The car is overtuned and a body is law motionless on the snowy ground with blood covering his body, George appears and a close up is visable as he kisses Jim, almost like he was saying goodbye. George was never there during the incident, this was a dream, a figure of his imagination. The music is sad, mirroring the scene.
George wakes up from his dream and touches his lip, which is covered in ink. He imagines it to be the blood of his lover and exits his bed. George narrates what he is doing, speaking of how waking up hurts him. I like how he talks the viewers through what he is doing and what he feels, it gives me a persepctive of what is going on. The camera follows him as he gets ready for his day. the camera goes close up on his shoes, tie, hands which I find very effective. We can relate to what he is doing.
Before he leaves, the telephone rings. This is what seems to start his memories, the scene starts with him sitting in a chair, the phone rings and its a family member of his partner, Jim. He is informed of his death, he breaks down. He drops his glasses out of his hand and slumps into the chair while he cries uncontrollably, this scene was very intense, The camera is able to capture the moment his eyes fill up and his throat shows how its become hard to swollow. He then escapes his home, trying to rid himself of the news he just had and runs through the rain to a neighbouring house. He frantically bangs on the door but you cant hear, all you can hear is the rain, getting louder and louder. Hes screaming in pain, but you just can not hear him. His voice is drowned out. He is then bought back to relality by the ringing telephone.
Visually, the film in my opinion is made visually better with the use of the camera angles, the close ups during certain scenes show how George is only concentrating on himself, he is not interested in the world around him, He is numb.
The next scene I enjoyed was the slow motion of him driving his car, i felt as though something was about to happen but it could be because he is scared of driving after his lover died so the slow mo is to show how he is careful when driving. The music also fits in well with this scene.
Once he reaches the university he teaches at he sits in his car for a few moments before leaving. He walks against the croud, everybody admires him, stares at him, respects him but he just doesn’t notice. He does not care. As today was the day he wanted to change, he complements his secretary? on the way she looks. It was almost sexual, which confused me with him being gay. He tells the lady her smile is beautiful and hthe camera flicks from her lips to her eyes, this is a re occuring scene that happens at many times during the film. Also, as he is speaking with a colleague he watches a student who is topless, he seems very engrossed in him, I think he is reminded of Jim, once again.
Again, memories start to come back to him as people or thinsg remind him of Jim, this time is was a student talking about a book. This book almost mirrored part of georges story and he zoned out. This wiuld be the moment george and Mr Potter became very close, almost too close for a professor and student. At times I found their interactions uneasy, the camera angles they used added to the almost sexualised manner of their conversation. There is a lot of beautiful women in the film, which could be there as a distraction for george but he is not distracted. No beauty from a woman could distract him from is greif but this man, Mr Potter certainly feels as if he can distract George.
Another major motif during the film was the clock. George was always looking at a clock or hearing the ticking of a clock, which I didnt understand why. The noise of the clock can be heard during scenes as it drowns out any other noise.
There is a noticable orange hue on the screen during the film on many occasions. This seems to be when he is taken away from his thoughts and he almost forgets his greif. He is taken away and reminded of happiness, for a split second and thats what I believe the orange hue is about. This started off occasionally during the start of the film and as the film continued more scenes were filmed like this. They then returned to an off white/greyish colour.
Sound in the film is vital, the clocks, the people, the chaos. All drowned out or mimicing how he is currently feeling. The sound of the telephone distracts him from practicing how he is going to kill himself.
The lighting is minimal, referencing how when he is alone, hes minimal, hes nothing. At least, he feels as if he is nothing. The darkness within the beach scene was also great, hes doing something dangerous, hes drunk, in the dark in rough sea’s. He knows he should do this but he does it anyway, because he couldn’t care less.
The make up, hair and styling in the film has to be my favorite. George has the same suits lined up in his wardrobe, each set out perfectly. He looks very smart and dapper. The women in the film are my favorite, they have the big hair, dramatic cut crease eye make up. They look fantastic.
The final scene ends with him dropping to the floor, it seemed as if he was haing a heart attack. You heard him gasp for air and the room fell silent, all you could hear was the ticking of a clock, again. This clock seemed to mirror his breathing and showed that time was running out. Im not sure if he died but during the last moments, Jim came to him, like he went to Jim.