Firth has received career best reviews for his performance and was awarded the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the 66th Venice International Film Festival in 2009, and also the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. He was also nominated for the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and BFCA.
The film is set in LA, a month after the Cuban missile crisis. We follow George Falconer (played by Colin Firth) who is a gay middle-aged English college professor who is still mourning the death of his long term partner.
As a result of his inconsolable grief, George decides that at day’s end, he will take his own life. We witness George’s day and are privy to past experiences, his views on his future, and the emotions he experiences when he farewells items that hold sentimental value and people that he knows. As George methodically prepares for his suicide, a few of life’s unexpected surprises come his way, which may disrupt his plans after all.
Known for his role as Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (and I guess in Bridget Jones’ Diary), Colin Firth here is extraordinary in his understated performance as George Falconer. There is also a surprising but welcome performance by Julian Moore, who plays George’s long-term friend.
The strong, deep but effortless performance of Colin Firth, like Ben Stiller in Greenberg, was the back-bone of this character study, and he is convincing.
The Cuban Missile Crises serves as a very apt allegory which captures the feelings George experiences in relation to his own expectation of his life: an over-hanging sense of unavoidable, apocalyptic doom.
The script is very tight but allows for a loose, dream-like ambience which is due also to the beautiful cinematography and score. The film’s narration and structure when combined with smooth editing, especially in its flashback and slightly surreal sequences, results in creating a poetic flavour.
This is the type of film that I love: a perfect example of the power of film to deliver a narrative using all available techniques to manipulate the senses.
5 out of 5 martinis.
Luke McWilliams August 2010