Running Time: 99 minutes
Release: 25 February 2010
Fashion designer Tom Ford’s controversial directorial debut has finally arrived on Australian screens. Intial skepticism on whether Ford could make this transition from fashion to film, which saw him largely funding this film, has now been laid to rest. Ford puts 0n a lavish display of his screenplay based on a book by Christopher Insherwood of the same name. This transition from one visual medium to the next is not such a radical departure as one might believe as both require creativity, vision, styling and attention to detail which Ford loving brings to fruition.
Starring Colin Firth as gay English Literature Professor, George Falconer, living in California in the 60’s post Cuban missle crisis. George is still grieving the loss of his partner Jim and is struggling to find closure as he was denied access to the funeral by Jim’s family in this homophobic era. When George to take his life his final day on earth becomes a feast for the senses as he tries to take it all in the sights, smells, sounds and touch which Ford has this uncanny to bring these senses alive together with his photographer so you feel you are experiencing it all. From the lingering shots, slow motion, framing, locations and pieced beautifully with the musical score serves to heighten the senses. However if it wasn’t for the brilliant acting of Colin Firth and the it just would not have worked so effectively. He is truly deserving of his recently awarded BAFTA and is up for an Academy Award nomination as well.
Themes of fear, predjuice, suspicion, morality, repression, love and 60’s society are brought under the microscope through George’s lectures which captures the imagination of one of his students Kenny (Nicholas Hoult, About a Boy and Skins) who senses George plight. Hoult is definetely a star on the rise and one to watch out for and its hard to take your eyes off him as he screams magnetism. Julianne Moore puts in a fine performance as his friend Charlotte as they cling to each other like lost souls each battling their own demons. Unfortunately even Charlotte like many others in the 60’s misunderstand the gay community and insist its time for George to have a “real” relationship.
The clothes, nuances, cars and cocktails of the 60’s are brought into fine focus along with homage to 60’s icons of Bridgette Bardot and James Dean. While it may be argued that it is almost too beautiful which may detract from the dark and despairing content like one of its themes beauty can be derived from the ugly.