Colin Firth was robbed.
Not that Jeff Bridges didn’t deserve that (arguably) accumulative Oscar for Crazy Heart. But this is the performance of Firth’s career and one so bruised, poignant and delicately nuanced that it creeps up and side swipes the viewer with an unexpected emotional connection.
He plays dapper English gent George, a university literature professor in 1962 LA. During one sun-dappled day George dresses impeccably, goes to work, flirts with a student (Nicholas Hoult), meets a hustler ( Jon Kortajarena), sees his best friend ( Julianne Moore, brilliant) for dinner and meticulously plans his own suicide via a gunshot to the head. Why would such a seemingly blessed man want to end his pristine life?
Because despite outward elegance and control, George is broken after the death of his long-term partner (Matthew Goode). Used to concealing his sexuality, he’s now an expert at internalising and deflecting his feelings – he’s all surface.
A similar criticism has also been levelled at designer-turned-director Tom Ford, so lush and immaculate are his visuals, costumes, sets and period details. And certainly the seductive golden glow afforded to Hoult’s teen hipster, the caressing of naked dream sequences and the shards of polished light cutting through George’s Lautnerdesigned home are as opulently gorgeous as any high-end commercial.
But it’s Firth who wears the suits and not the other way around, imbibing George with a heartbreaking melancholy via tiny touches (watch the way he replaces a phone after tragic news) that draw you deep beyond the beautiful façade.
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