Tom Ford shifts his focus from creating expensive designer suits to directing films with Single Man.
The story draws inspiration from a short story written by Christopher Isherwood. Set in the 1960s, it centers around George (played by Colin Firth), an English professor still grieving the death of his partner. Though several years have passed, he’s still trapped in the past — or miserably trying to escape it. In his depression, he, uhm, “seeks comfort” from his best friend (played by Julianne Moore). We all know how that goes.
So George decides to kill himself. And that would be a pretty horrible way for a Christmas movie to end (although, interestingly, suicides tend to rise during the winter season — must be the combination of the dreary weather and dysfunctional family reunions). But in the spirit of another holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George has a “moment” that convinces him that yes, life is meaningful.
Colin Firth was pretty darned good in this movie, and all things considered, Tom Ford did a fantastic job, too. It is his first film, and he took creative risks, including the subtle use of color to express mood or even shift time frames (must be the designer in him). Even the placement of objects is symbolic.
It won’t win any Cannes awards but “Single Man” is a brave directorial debut that tackles a powerful topic of enduring love, triumph over tragedy, and hope. All in all, it’s a thought provoking film, and one that will have you in a suitably reflective mood when you think about the holidays “and what really matters.”