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Sunday rebuttal and “Every Little Step”

A reader in Lubbock, Texas just sent a response to my mini-review of (aka “mouthing off about”) A Single Man.

You have to read the book to understand they didn’t change the ending. Not something Mister Ford just decided to do out of the clear blue. Making a film from a narrative inside someone’s head is not an easy task, either. Perhaps you missed something and perhaps you don’t understand Mister Firth’s greatest talent as an actor. IMHO.
Which I gather means “in my humble opinion.” And my opinion, God knows, is humble too. Thank you for writing. I have not read the book, and think I shouldn’t have had to to understand and enjoy the film. But I’ve been told that the suicide which drives the entire movie is an invention of Tom Ford’s, thereby entirely changing not only the story but our feelings about the ending. (Trying not to give it all away here.)
And as I said, I was a huge fan of Firth’s Mr. Darcy, but I do not find this character as convincing. Something is missing. IMHO.
Compare this film to Departures, the Japanese movie about a man who learns to deal with life through learning to deal with death – in some ways, a topic similar to this film. But it’s moving, joyful and messy, and I left heartened about what it is to be alive, about the bonds we share as human beings. I do not ask a film to have a cheery ending. I ask it to deliver something that makes me feel connected to the planet on which I live and my fellow beings there. A Single Man did that to a certain extent, but not nearly as much as I’d been led to believe. My core was unmoved. And believe me, my core is not hard to melt down.
On our way home, Chris and I ran into Jean-Marc and Richard, my dear neighbours, and ended up having dinner and watching a fantastic documentary with them – Every Little Step, about the casting of the recent Broadway remount of A Chorus Line. Highly recommended for anyone interested in show biz. I was an actress in Vancouver when A Chorus Line first opened and the cast album was released, and for months, every party ended with us all dancing around the living room to those wonderful songs, while Bill Millerd conducted with a butcher knife. “I really need this job!”
Though most of my thespian friends weren’t song-and- dance people, we felt the musical was about us too, about the hard life of performers, the irrational drive which most of us felt in childhood that led us to the stage, the ecstacy when the work goes well. The documentary shows singer/dancers auditioning for a part in a musical which is about singer/dancers auditioning for a part in a musical. And what amazing creatures they are, these young Americans who dance brilliantly, sing marvellously and act too. Dazzling – with a combination of talents that is specifically American.
Whereas the greatest acting of depth and feeling, IMHO, comes so often from British actors. But not always.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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