There are two primordial things you must understand in order to comprehend A Single Man. Those things being Tom Ford is an artist and Tom Ford is gay. Which is why A Single Man doesn’t necessarily feel like a film but rather like a very conscious meditation on what it is to be gay. Instead of feeling like a film, Tom Ford’s artistic flairs make A Single Man feel more like an art-piece depicting our main character’s entire movement of both mind and body on what could either be another day in his existence or a really important day for his life.
Tom Ford’s approach to making a film is a truly unique and beautiful in its own way. Instead of plotting the moments of the story and leading up to those important moments, he simply lets the film sway alongside the story in a very relaxed manner that gives off that feeling that A Single Man is more a meditation on what it means to be gay rather than a film making a statement about what it means to be gay. Everything about the essence of the film defines it as having a vey relaxed nature and because of it you’re just carried away by the events occurring rather than being made to observe and analyze the events occurring on the screen. That being said, within that ongoing serenity Tom Ford does insert tiny touches of insanely detailed personality. What Tom Ford does is present the story as it is in the novel and place himself within that story in a very subtle and particular way. Its not that he makes the story about himself, but that he relates it to himself, the gay community, and the viewer in general by framing important life questions and encounters under very mundane events.
Relating to Tom Ford’s unique style, what most struck me about this film is its beauty. Each shot is beautifully composed and screams with emotion as colors are heightened and images are swapped for others. Edward Grau does a stellar job as cinematographer to man with exemplary artistic talents such as Tom Ford. Together they paint a beautiful picture on sexuality by using the camera as their paint brush and attaching feelings of life, pain, and regret to every still photograph that makes up the film.
A Single Man is captivating meditation in sexuality that does what Tree of Life did to family to the gay community. That being said its still a directorial debut and although its flaws are minor, they’re still there and stop it from reaching that majestic nature that has been attributed to films like Tree of Life or Blue is the Warmest Color. Its a great reflection on humanity and sexuality that promises greater things to come from Tom Ford as an artistic director.