I’ve learned to be cautious in any expectations of a film, and this was no exception.While the film has gotten generally good reviews, I was quite disappointed. The film is an achievement of sorts, the same way some music videos capture a certain spirit or sensibility. But ultimately this film is all about Tom Ford and his sensibilities. Ford’s sensibilities as a fashion designer are prevalent in every aspect of the production and costume design. There is no subtly, and style and I felt that so much exacting fashion overwhelmed the film.
Make no mistake, he does these things very well and they add to the film in many ways, but excessive. The story was originally about an average middle class man, but there is nothing average in this film.The real strength of the film are it’s leads, Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, and they are both are really wonderful.
Firth is more handsome than ever and his restrained performance will likely earn him numerous awards. Personally, I felt he was being directed to be overly maudlin and it didn’t feel authentic.
Like the book, In the last scene with the young student, George’s will to live is restored, but Ford takes the unnecessary step of actually having George die of a heart attack rather than go through the stream-of-conscious “what-if” approach that the book takes. And of course it is a spectacle. OH THE IRONY, THE TIMING! OH, PLEASE!
It was bad enough for him to be forlornly carting around a gun all day, but this was too much.
I thought the heart attack sequence diminished the film, reducing it to a melodramatic cliche.
Ford simply tried too hard. WAY to hard.
All the scenes where George is alone almost all the color is drained from the scene, then when there are flashbacks to his perfectly fit handsome young lover everything is saturated and bright and full of color. This happens all through the film.
Emotionally everything is behind a wall of artifice, which is a shame. The characters feel distant, everything is played too precious and overly sentimental. Too many lingering pained expressions, too many PROFOUND comments, too many ironic incidents and lots of unbelievable behavior that is supposed to be every-day routine.
Almost nothing of his daily routine feels authentic. In the book this provided the momentum… in the film these details are reduced to flourishes of self pity.
If Ford had only art directed the film and someone more well seasoned was in the directors chair it could have been a masterpiece. He made a valiant effort.
It is beautiful to look at and is composed and acted lovingly. It really just needs a little dirty realism to ground it.