While in New York last week, PJ and I saw A Single Man, which stars Colin Firth as an English professor, George, who is deciding what to do with his life now that his partner of 16 years, Jim, played by Matthew Goode, has died suddenly in a car accident. Set in 1962 Los Angeles, we follow George as he goes through the day putting his affairs in order; having decided that life is meaningless without Jim, he is going to kill himself at the end of the day.

Here’s the trailer:

A Single Man is a kind of gayer version of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Like that novel, this film, based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood, allows us to not only follow the lead character as he prepares for a big event but also allows that character to reflect on life and its meaning. The narrative jumps back and forth between George’s depressed present alone and joyous past with Jim.

While George understandably feels alone, we see that there are at least three other options out there for him. While buying alcohol for a dinner party with his best friend, George meets a male escort, who sees George as a lonely guy who obviously needs his company. I really like what Tom Ford, the director and co-writer, did with this scene. It could have been incredibly clich├ęd and stereotypical; instead, it’s a beautiful moment of almost connecting.