Reverend was dumbfounded to discover in late November-early December various online articles and blog posts dismissing Tom Ford's gorgeous directorial debut A Single Man as having been "de-gayed" prior to its release. Most of these writers and bloggers hadn't seen the film, while I had and could attest that A Single Man (based on the landmark novel by Christopher Isherwood) isn't only the best gay-themed mainstream film since Brokeback Mountain, but also goes its predecessor a step further in that its multiple gay characters aren't self-loathing closet cases living hypocritical, double lives.
While George Falconer — the film's lead character beautifully brought to life by the duly-acclaimed Colin Firth — is depressed and contemplating suicide à la some of his maladjusted, homosexual cinematic predecessors, it isn't because he hates himself. George simply finds it impossible to continue living happily without his beloved partner of 16 years, who was tragically killed a few months prior in a car accident. He finds renewed hope, however, through a pair of younger gay men who represent a new, less repressed generation.
I don't know how A Single Man could possibly have been "de-gayed." Between the long-term same-sex relationship at the story's heart, Falconer's intelligent lecture to his college students on society's need to identify and persecute minorities, Ford's keen visual and fashion senses, and the film's downright erotic moments involving blue-eyed, skinny-dipping, strip-teasing Nicholas Hoult, A Single Man is not only the best GLBT movie of 2009, but one of the best films depicting our lives to date.
Similarly stylish and sexy, Little Ashes — which reveals the previously unknown romance between Spanish writer Federico García Lorca and surrealist Salvador Dalí — didn't get the wide release it deserved but will likely be embraced by gay viewers once it hits DVD later this month. And Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire is an award-winning hit due in no small part to the insight and sensitivity of its openly gay director, Lee Daniels. Dedicated to "precious girls everywhere," more than a few gay men are appropriately counting ourselves included.
on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon.com.
By Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.