6 September 2010, 18.06 CET
Of the four films I watched this weekend I enjoyed most by far Tom Ford’s A Single Man.
The dialogues and interactions between the characters are literary rather than social, measured yet evocative.
George Falconer is the kind of man I have aspired to be but have all too often fallen well short. I am aspiring still.
I mean something beyond the stylishness, charm, and fastidiousness Falconer presents. I mean the way he is a gentleman, the way he listens and responds, the way he looks and smiles at the world around him. The way he expresses anger but does not inhabit it, is not controlled by it. This is what I most admired and related to.
Perhaps dying relatively young is the best way to go. The deus ex machina of the film is that Falconer is prepared to choose to die (his only moments of awkwardness), but in the end doesn’t have to. In this he is like those characters in nineteenth-century novels who sicken and quickly die solely because of their sorrow. Falconer is a Romantic, after all.
Julianne Moore’s character is a kind of gargoyle. He enjoys her company and can relax around her in a way he doesn’t with the others. But her sorrowful desire renders her with a mean excess. It is she, after all, who has over-invested in substitution. Sad, understandable, but the viewer cannot empathize due to her gargolyed meanness.
What I mean when I call Falconer a gentleman is that he refuses meanness and petulance in exchange for a sadness that is refined, earthy, and strong. This is the essence of what it means to be civilized. By doing so he achieves his humanity rather than rejecting it for the sake of self-pity. Moving and exemplary.
Reflecting on the world I live in, the often uncouth, aggressive, and thoughtless ways the people around me interact with the world made me nostalgic for a different scene. And so I have sadness, memories, and still some hope. And I will continue on, with a better manner.