While I can't pretend to harbor even the faintest understanding of fashion, "A Single Man," American fashion designer Tom Ford's first attempt behind the camera, makes me wish I did.
Everything in this film is Vogue-spread beautiful. The people. The houses. The vehicles. Death. Grief. Loneliness. Smoking. Even banking. And while I find it all very pleasing aesthetically, cerebrally I cannot figure as to why, aside from the fact that it all looks expensive.
The chief player in "A Single Man" is Colin Firth, perhaps best known stateside for his portrayal of bumbling Brits in "Love Actually" and the "Bridget Jones" movies. Here, Firth is exceptional as George Falconer, a gay college English professor on the verge of suicide after losing his partner (Matthew Goode) in an automobile accident. His character exudes an air of sedation whilst in the company of many who appear fully aware that they're sprinting blindfolded through a minefield.
The remainder of the cast does very well too, though Julianne Moore's turn as Charley, George's former lover and current best friend, deserves special mention. Watching Charley, who appears equal parts amusing and sad, is like watching a clown. It's a testament to Moore's talent that in a very short time we learn enough about Charley to believe that her younger self would have, indeed, accused a lesbian of being "hung like a donut," an accusation which George hilariously recounts during dinner.
This film is certainly not for everyone, but if you have an eye for fashion, you'll likely appreciate the exhibition of nineteen sixties, post-Cuban Missile Crisis chic better than I. If not, the fine acting will have to suffice.