Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lola, Christopher, Tom: A Single Man

Lola von Miramar is not quite sure what to say, seeing the preview to Tom Ford's glorious A Single Man has reminded her of the intensity of the film, its gripping story, the beauty and pathos of a lived life revolving around memories of beauty and sadness.

Miss von Miramar ran into Borders last Wednesday night right after seeing the film at the Michigan Theater and picked up Christopher Isherwood's fascinating eponymous novel, first published in 1964 but set in 1962. It is a fascinating read, quite different from the movie - at times, remarkably angry, particularly about the marginality of homosexuality in 1960s America. Its protagonist narrator offers a most remarkable view of American life from the multiple perspectives of an outsider: as a British foreigner; as a sexual deviant who painfully (cynically, perhaps) suggests parallels between his experience and that of many social outcasts: Blacks, Jews, Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II, the terminally ill; as an intellectual in a philistine world. Mexico and the Spanish language also play a key part in that construction of difference (of that which is not English or American, different linguistically, socially, and geographically), not to mention the imminent destruction of the world feared in the context of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Ford's adaptation is interesting. The film is stunningly beautiful, perhaps less cerebral and much sexier, with an added suicidal plot that does not appear in the book. Julianne Moore transforms her character (Charley, George's best friend), but her portrayal is remarkably faithful to the spirit of the novel. The film is quite simply gripping; one gets very caught up. (The music, which you can listen to on the film website, is also exquisite.) Lola gives it two thumbs up! Go see it and read the novel if you haven't!

(For an insightful review, see Manohla Dargis's piece in the New York Times.)

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