A Single Man
When one thinks of the word ‘protagonist’, the first word that springs to mind is ‘hero’. Interestingly enough, in film, it is not always the swashbuckling heroes who create the strongest impression, but the twisted, troubled souls. In Tom Ford’s A Single Man, we encounter a troubled protagonist by the name of George Falconer. Through the use of techniques such as color saturation, mis en scene, camera framing/ angles and music, we begin to shade in the sketch of George, allowing us to delve into his sense of isolation from society and his overwhelming feeling of grief. It is these techniques which permit us to see into the deeply complex three dimensional character of George, ultimately create an indelible lasting impression of him.
A Single Man tells the story of a gay man in the 1960s grappling with a loss of the profoundest kind: the death of his partner. The plot follows George’s last day on earth, for at the end of the day George has resolved to kill himself. However, his plans are derailed by a change of heart (catalyzed by many characters, including his student Kenny.)
In the film, we are presented with two George Falconers, the lifeless statue he shows the world, and the richly complex yet deeply troubled man. George’s opening narration alludes to this sense of personal dichotomy: “It takes time in the morning for me to become George, time to adjust to what is expected of George and how he is to behave.” This establishes George’s two key challenges and personal conflict: his sense isolation from society (how he cannot show his true self to the world) and his feeling of obligation to cover up his grief. It is these two personal challenges, accompanied by effective techniques, which create a lasting impression.
Ford cleverly uses a myriad of techniques to convey George’s sense hollow isolation from the outside world, making him appear exactly as the film’s title describes him: a very single, and very lonely man. A perfect encapsulation...