This post comes quite late and I wish I could list a bunch of super-glamorlicious reasons why. I'm afraid it's plain old being busy, with a touch of my characteristic easy nature (!) when it comes to scheduling and a sprinkle of 'sure, I have time to read and browse through every single blog EVER' and 'aaah, where did the time go'. On closer inspection, it looks like it's simply taken methat long, a week tomorrow, to get over the miracle of human kind that is Tom Ford. Yep, that's it.
So, I will try not to gush (impossible) and remain objective to my thoughts on his directorial debut A Single Man and the Q&A that followed a preview at the Curzon Mayfair last Thursday (are you trembling Dr Kermode?).
I'd like to start by gushing (duh!) at Tom Ford and a really great Q&A; great mainly, and if I was being harsh solely, due to the fact that Mr Ford (the formality is my useless attempt at appearing objective) glided onto the stage, immaculate in suit, greeted the audience (who am I kidding, his fans), took his microphone and DID NOT STOP TALKING. Don't get me wrong, that was good. The man (aka God) is a machine and he talked, in his elegant, unhurried, quiet tone, about the movie, how he came to direct, why Isherwood's novel, why Colin Firth and I'm convinced that If he could have stayed all night he would go on. Or perhaps he'd invite us all back to Scott's for a couple of dozens of West Mersea Natives and a round of Old Fashioneds (do catch up).
What was really obvious is how engaged Tom (we're on first name basis now) is with his film, and trust me, it is his film. There are personal references there - such as the scene on the sofa where Colin Firth and Matthew Goode's characters are reading their books (Kafka's Metamorphosis and Capore's Breakfast at Tiffany's, respectively!) with their dogs by their side (Tom's own included). From the dark wood interior of George's house (actually currently on sale but Tom doubts you'd want to buy it - so small they had to film everything in one room!) to his suits (duh!), you're entering Fordland. Ignore all criticisms that the film is too stylish, I haven't heard anyone complain about excess style in a Michael Mann film. Mr Ford is uniquely gifted in managing every single detail of any project that passes through his hands and I personally felt that this was put in great use here. George wakes up and starts his usual process of becoming George (not too be confused with Becoming Jane - very different processes indeed), with his crisp white shirt, skinny tie, perfect nails - small details that matter in simultaneously showing off both the ability that beautiful, luxurious objects have to transform us and their inability to become anything more than that. Life's valuables lie in experiences, people, beautiful moments and that's what George's day is all about.
The film is beyond impressive for so many reasons but mainly because this is his first film and you just can't believe it. It is so accomplished but do think about it more as a small, beautiful indie film. Tom financed the entire project himself and therefore had all creative control over it, no big production boss barking down orders according to the latest statistics they've got their hands on. But as he declared, he is in control of his projects and could not see himself working on a big studio project. Their loss. It is also remarkably touching and moving, all down to the wonderful script with its minimal text and Colin Firth's performance, which is inspired to the last flicker of emotion that's seen through his eyes. Firth was Ford's first choice for the role of George and interestingly enough, Colin had to drop out of the film, which left Tom with a different English actor (who, who?) who then also had to move on, to do work that paid, as Ford put it. Ford recalls leaving the Mama Mia premiere in London and almost crying to his partner, Richard Buckley, that he had to get Firth. As it happened, Firth became available, loved the script and days later was on set. In fact, when asked, Tom said he had to give very little direction to him other than technical details although, and this is my favourite moment of the evening, nay, the week, he did ask Colin to watch this one Bill Clinton video. There are a lot of close-ups on Firth's face so Tom gave him a video where Clinton is asked:
- "Mr. Clinton, did you ever have a sexual relationship with Ms Lewinsky?"
Bill - (straight face) "No."
- "Mr. Clinton, was there an incident with a cigar?"
Bill - (straight face but a wave passes over it ['the most amazing thing I have ever watched!' Tom] and you can see he's thinking: 'Fuck. I've screwed up. Fuuuuuuuuck!!! and he replies) "No."
Genius, no? Go and see it, for the beautiful music, the fantastic costumes by Ford and Arianne Phillips (not nominated for an Oscar, Academy?), Julianne Moore as a gloriously beautiful and stunningly drunk English aristo, the love in it all. Or, just go and see it for Nicholas Hoult who is mesmerising, to say the least. See it at the Curson Mayfair, if you can, and look up at the ceiling when George is at the bank and the little girl in blue approaches him. The ceiling of the bank reflected on the polished floor is exactly the same as Curzon's! But don't look too long or you'll miss Firth's face, and we all know what we'd rather be looking at. And then walk up to Scott's, get yourself an Old Fashioned and let it all sink it. It will but it might take a week or so.
Images by myself and Dazed Digital.