Over an interval of a month, I finally managed to finish Tom Ford’s Magnum Opus, A Single Man. I don’t know why it took me so long, but at the risk of sounding strange: I was overwhelmed. Each time I would finish a portion of it, I would get caught up and reach for something lighter to pass my time. Yes, this is what the film is, heavy.
The film is based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood by the same name and takes place over the course of the day. It follows the day of an English professor, played by Colin Firth, at a university in LA. He has just lost his partner of 16 years and is struggling to come to terms with this news. Set in the 60s, this movie is visual perfection to me.
While watching the film, I was amazed at the art direction and use of colors in the film. Upon further research i discovered that the DOP (director of photography) is a 29 year old newcomer called Eduard Grau, and this was the biggest project he had worked on thus far. His introduction to Tom Ford had been in a random manner and landed him this job. And boy does he do wonders with the film. Throughout the film, the colors fade in and out mirroring the moods of the protagonist, which honestly plays more with your emotions than anything else I have seen. One minute you’re feeling gray and then the next minute your heart is bursting with shades of blue and green. And its all the magic of the direction.
I have always loved Tom Ford as a beautiful and simplistic designer with a flair for clean cut shapes. But this film blew me away. The way he managed to imprint his sense of style into each and every frame of the film. The way he organized simple details like the character’s chest of drawers, the way he decorated the house, each detail has Tom Ford written all over it. But aside from aesthetics, his direction is phenomenal. Granted Firth is a brilliant actor, and the range of emotions he’s managed to portray are breathtaking.
I happened to complete this film on a night i was feeling very uninspired and honestly a bit information saturated, and it was the perfect antidote to my predicament. It made me feel overwhelmed but in the most inspiring way possible. And it left me with great respect for a man we previously considered a great fashion designer but nothing else.
I recommend this film to everyone out there, but especially to those looking to fall in love with the beauty of a simplistic film but one that is ingrained with a spectrum of emotions.