A Single Man: The Book and the Movie

It is hard not to be interested in both the Christopher Isherwood’s A SINGLE MAN and the film adaptation. As circumstances would have it I first encountered the film. Being the first film by Tom Ford, It is promising. Ford’s method and the efforts of the ensemble produced a unique and glossy interpretation Isherwood’s story. I guess it could be described as highly stylish and beautiful depiction of man’s life in a blue fugue. The story set in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s was rich in imagery and eye candy – Ford and Hoult crafted Kenny into a plausible and tempting Ganymede to Falconer – dressed all in white and emboldened with a cashmere sweater. It was though one was looking at a snapshot of that time represented by snapshots from glossy and fashionable magazine. Even the actors from Colin Firth, Matthew Goode, Nicholas Hoult and Juliane Moore seemed to have stepped out of those advertisements during the 1960s. The film kept my interest long enough to see through day with Professor George Falconer.

Perhaps a connection was also made because of the personal flight of Falconer (Firth). Anyone living a solitary life is familiar and can relate to this. The depression and looking for meaning after one’s partner is gone can be devastating. You begin to question things and look at things. And the options available are not easy choices.

DId I make the right choice?
Why are you here?
What do you mean?
Whaf do you want?
Should I?
What if I did?

Those questions that prick our mind when we encounter the proverbial porcupine of encounters.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons the book and the film is something I can strongly relate to. And ultimately this led to buying a personal copy of the book – locally available at certain bookstores.

And as it turns out there are differences in the story. There were things added and removed. For those interested. I leave it up to the reader to chase the story and peruse at their pleasure if they choose so. As adaptations go Ford’s film took liberties and re-interpreted portions of the story that made sense – like the larger role of Matthew Goode as Jim or a more straight forward Kenny (Hoult) – and took liberties and re-interpreted portions of the story that make you wonder why this was done. Still the film as a whole was faithful to the spirit of the story.

Those who are similarly afflicted as Mr. Falconer will be familiar with it will be emphatic, while those who have gone through the same thing and have reached the other side scathed but all for the better will be familiar.

Personally, both film and book were more than satisfying experience and worth the time and money one spent.

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