When Tom Ford announced that he would be expanding his resume from designer to director, both the film and fashion industries stood waiting with baited breath. Such a bold move has seldom been done, never mind successfully. But lucky for Ford - everything he touches turns to gold...or tortoise shell, or fine italian cashmere...and his foray into film making already echos the success of his cult favorite collections for Gucci, and super successful solo career.
A Single Man is a triumph in cinematic storytelling. From a fashion perspective - its a thrill to watch. Thanks to Ford's fashions and costume design by Arriane Philips, the entire cast is outfitted head to toe in pitch-perfect period pieces. Even the most minute background character looks like they were ripped straight from an issue of Vogue circa 1962. The props and set direction transport the viewer to another world - one where your office accessories exhibit feng shui-like organization, phone booths act as a frame for handsome and willing men, and students chain smoke seductively in class. The impeccable composition of each frame exhibit Fords trademark eye for visual design.
But all of that is no surprise for a film done by one of fashion's most immortal dieties. What's less expected a is the delivery of this heartbreaking story, originally written as a novel by Christopher Isherwood. Colin Firth's portrayal of George Falconer, a man trying to rediscover his place in the world following the unexpected death of his lover, is heartbreaking. From the moment Firth enters the screen, the viewer becomes invested in his character; feeling his pain as though it was your own. Your stomach lurches at his lamenting words, your chest tightening at his empty stare. In turn, Julianne Moore wreaks of desperation as George's fragile best friend and ex-lover. And even british born Nicholas Hoult offers a surprisingly haunting portrayal as Firth's Californian "student-and-then-some".
My only criticism is actually of Matthew Goode - whose performance is, appropriately, only "good", but not great. While I wanted to believe him as the perfectly infallible memory of Firths lost love - I found him slightly ingenuine. This could be from a lack of chemistry between the two heterosexual actors, however this is Goode's 3rd recent gay role - implying that he should be used to conjuring intimacy with unlikely partners. What's more likely is that when contrasted directly with Firth's stirring character study, almost anyone would pale by comparison.
From the impeccable curated set and costume design to the well tailored script and award worthy performances - A Single Man may just be the single best film of the year. If you haven't seen it yet, go now - this may be your only chance to snag a little piece of Tom Ford for under $15.