I was eager to see Tom Ford‘s writing and directorial debut. It is fun and fascinating to watch his career, and has been since he caught our attention back when he took over Gucci and brought sexy back to the doomed brand. Since then he’s had the Midas touch in the world of fashion, going on to launch his own label and stores.
So what then,Â is a film by this first-time fashionista like? FordÂ wrote the screenplay based onÂ Christopher Isherwood‘s quiet, elegant novel,Â A Single Man, whichÂ Isherwood wrote afterÂ imagining how his life would be if his real-life much younger lover died. He cast a wonderful Colin Firth as the devastated, suicidal George, unable to cope with the death of his lover,Â and Julianne Moore asÂ his vulnerable fellowÂ Brit best friend,Â Charley.Â (Think AbFab‘s Patsy Stone, only real and not funny, and it’s easily some of Moore’s best work.)
From there Ford’s eye and strong point of view come into play.Â A lot. As a single doomed day in George’s grand life unfolds, tensely, Ford is like a kid with a fresh set of paint colours, and while it sometimes seemed like ‘Look what I can do!’, his enthusiastic flourishes are elegant and engaging.Â His every shotÂ is filled with them; many are clearly the eye of a man from the fashion world.Â Â His cameras linger on exquisitely lit beauty: a dewy rose, perfectly painted lips, George’s Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece of a house, L.A.’s smoggy sunset gorgeousness, lots of gorgeous people in gorgeous clothes.
Ford’s aesthetic aside, more importantly his best accomplishment with his debut is that he manages to captures the true nature of love between two men, in the way we’re seeing more of in the mainstream since Brokeback Mountain, to the point where it’s simply a love story, not a gay love story.Â In other words, I never once cringed at any off notes.Â All of A Single Man rang true, however overly lushly.