From Runway to Celluloid : Tom Ford's Directorial Debut (A Single Man)
Feb 5, 2010
Tom Ford is best known for his work on the runway, as Creative Director for fashion houses like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent (YSL). As Creative Director for Gucci (1994-2004), Ford made the label one of the most profitable luxury brands in the world and in 2006 announced that he would launch his own line of ready-to-wear men's clothes under the TOM FORD name making women everywhere long for the day when Tom Ford might also dress them. I mean, c'mon, have you seen this man?
A Single Man is Tom Ford's feature film debut as a director he elegantly portrays the deeply moving story of a man, George Falconer (Colin Firth) a college professor living in Los Angeles in 1962, who loses his lover in a car crash. The film catalogs a day in the life of a man who has made up his mind to kill himself, because the thought of going on without the love of his life is just too much for him to bear. The opening scene is one of Firth's character floating in water, an eerie visual that serves as a precursor to where the story is headed, immediately cutting to a dream sequence of wreckage from the car crash his lover died in, explaining his plight. Throughout the film, Falconer has to conceal, not only his grief but also the fact that he has lost his other half, not just a friend or acquaintance.
Falconer plans his suicide methodically as if he were going on a trip. Once the decision has been made to end it all, his mood seems to shift from dull everyday living, to a genuine appreciation for the little things that so often go unnoticed. Tom Ford creates unique visuals during the initial scenes of the movie where Falconer's demeanor is tired and worn from simply getting through the day. The lighting around his character is sallow and gray, while all other characters are portrayed as vibrant, young and full of life. The costumes in this picture are sleek, finely tailored clothes from the '60s, and given Tom Ford's elegance and charismatic style, it is no wonder that this translates in the film.
The exquisitely tailored clothing was totally expected, and Ford's artistic direction is evident throughout the film from clothing to set design, to the house that Falconer lived in with his partner. The house, a mid-century modern, glass-encased, Neutra-inspired single level home located somewhere in the Santa Monica Mountains. All of this beauty and stylish filmaking serves as a backdrop to the often times, unsettling scenes of Falconer carefully planning his death. His dispair is countered by the kindness and naivete of the people he comes into contact with throughout the film, from a student in his class, an old friend played by Julianne Moore and a smokin-hot Spanish man he meets outside of a liquor store.
All in all, the film captures the emotion that manifests itself as a result of dealing with the loss of a love, whether through death or from a breakup, when mustering up the courage to move forward with everyday life seems impossible. Colin Firth gives an incredible performance, one that has him nominated for an Academy Award, and personally, I think he is a shoe-in. Julianne Moore is also captivating, despite her erratic and desperate attempts to rekindle the relationship that her and Falconer once had. There are scenes that go on for much longer than necessary, which could be due in part to the anticipation of what is sure to be a supercharged, dramatic and predictable ending. Overall, the film was beautiful, yet almost entirely predictable. I would be interested to see where Ford's career takes him within the film industry. It seems that the camera loves him, and he now loves the camera.
There were times when I found this movie to be agonizingly slow. I had to fast-forward the movie just to get it up to normal speed. I wouldn't have minded so much if the acting had been really compelling, but I just could never see Colin Firth as the character he was supposed to be playing (contrast that with how easily Sean Penn slipped into his character in Milk). At times I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. Just to clarify - I actually like some of the more … more
I really wanted this film to be a masterpiece and it came so close, but it let me down in the last quarter. Colin Firth gives what may be his best performance yet playing a suicidal gay professor who is still in mourning after the death of his lover in a car accident. He seeks solace in quiet reflective moments during the day, as well as in his relationship with his hipster friend, played by Julianne Moore, with whom he once had a sexual relationship as well. The film features some visually stunning … more
The year is 1962, and George (Colin Firth), a quiet college professor, is about to kill himself. His lover has died and George has calmly decided that he cannot bear to live another day alone. He teaches a class, puts his papers in order, sees his best friend, and is ready to go. Then, one of his students interrupts his plan. This very intimate, somber, arty film has a good script and good actors. Firth gives a wonderful performance as a man who welcomes death; his expressive … more
"A Single Man" Love and the Pain of Grief Amos Lassen Tom Ford has an amazing directorial debut with "A Single Man", his first film. He has taken Christopher Isherwood's classic book and he has breathed new life into it (not that it needed it as it still remains a classic). Colin Firth as George Falconer, a closeted college professor, is absolutely brilliant. George found love with Jim (Matthew Goode), a younger man … more
A Single Man is a 2009 American drama film based on the Christopher Isherwood novel of the same name. It was directed by fashion designer Tom Ford, who had to finance it himself, as it was his directorial debut. The film stars Colin Firth as the protagonist George Falconer, a gay British university professor living in Southern California in 1962.
The production design was done by the same team that created the production sets in Mad Men, which is also set in the same era.
The film premiered on September 11, 2009 at the 66th Venice International Film Festival and went on the film festival circuit. After it screened at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, The Weinstein Company picked it up for distribution in the United States and Germany. An initial limited run in the U.S. was planned for December 2009 to qualify it for the 82nd Academy Awards with a wider release planned in early 2010.
A story that centers on an English professor who, after the sudden death of his partner tries to go about his typical day in Los Angeles. Based on a novel by the same name, by Christopher Isherwood.