A great cast, a highly emotional script, an overly art-directed décor, an impeccable styling and a touching soundtrack… Although his first attempt as a movie director, A Single Man, an adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s masterly 1964 short novel, is a bold inner journey in the 60s Los Angeles by Tom Ford.
George, an incredibly stylish and good looking English professor at a small college, is a single man, struggling to find a reason to live after losing his 16-year young lover, Jim, in an accident. He is “just getting through the goddamn day.” Charlotte, performed by Julianne Moore, is a close British fellow, who is in love with him – even though she knows there is no hope. Just when George’s midlife crisis starts to take its toll on him and puts the idea of suicide in his mind, he befriends Kenny, one of his students.
The movie is too beautiful to be true. The black and white flashbacks to George and Jim sunbathing on rocks look like a Calvin Klein ad. Colin Firth is styled beautifully – from every single detail of his clothing to every single detail of his drawers of perfectly folded clothes. As he states, “It takes time in the morning for me to become George, time to adjust to what is expected of George and how he is to behave. By the time I have dressed and put the final layer of polish on the now slightly stiff but quite perfect George I know fully what part I’m suppose to play”. Similarly Charlotte’s swinging style, early 60’s furniture and wardrobe are as artsy. Nicholas Hoult, the little cute kid we remember from About a Boy,and Ford’s current eyewear model, is a mature gentleman trying to understand himself and the world around him, breaking through his youth.
The movie not only succeeds in seducing viewer’s eyes, but also ears. One of the best soundtracks I’ve listened to… warm and inviting tones by Abel Korzeniowski and Shigeru Umebayashi. Gentle touches of harp, dancing violins, cello. “Drowning”,”The Stillness of Mind”, “Snow”, “Daydreams”, “Swimming”, “Sunset” and “Clock Tick” are some of the sounds that capture the mood, the undertone and the melancholy.
The 101 minutes you spend in front of your sceen will have a lot of Tom Ford within – and his attention for detail. George’s shoes reminded me of Gucci’s earlier men collection, his overly organized glass-filled wooden house reminded me of Ford’s boutique on Via Verri in Milan, Charlotte’s look took me to magazine pages.
It’s an inner journey reflecting on love, death, intimacy, attachment, habit, the difficulty and, most of the times, the necessity of foregoing the past and living in the present tense – and I am sure you will enjoy it.