‘I’m English. I like being wet and cold.’ So says Colin Firth to his young student played by Nicholas Hoult in A Single Man. It’s a film that people will flock to watch, starring three handsome male actors covering a wide age range. Now, I don’t mean that our Mr Darcy has grown old, but next to Matthew Goode he is. Somewhat. And Nicholas Hoult is barely old enough to be a college student.
It’s only thanks to the ladies hairdos that you can tell whether it’s a flashback or not; late 1940s or early 1960s. A Single Man feels quite Christopher Isherwood-ish, which was to be expected. Not much happens. Matthew Goode dies in the opening scene, but the only aspect that made this a really sad occasion is that with homosexuality having to be hidden in those days, Colin Firth’s character can’t go to the funeral or even be seen to grieve very openly.
Other than that, I wasn’t convinced that there was much feeling there at all. He wants to kill himself, and spends the day preparing his suicide, but then things don’t go as he, or we, expect.
Beautifully filmed in wonderful locations, and with some great, if possibly overdone, 1960s authentic props. Very nice touch to have the mild mannered Colin Firth offering to kill the neighbour’s brat.
The James Dean look-alike was a fresh breeze in a fairly stifling drama about hurt feelings among people it was hard to like. And perhaps nobody realised that it’s his British accent that makes Matthew Goode so sexy. Fake American works nowhere near as well.
At Cornerhouse from today.