Renowned fashion designer Tom Ford must have been chomping at the bit to make his jump into feature films, but he was smart to hold out for the right project, because it’s hard to imagine a directorial debut more perfect than “A Single Man.” Based on the novel of the same name by Christopher Isherwood, the film take place over the course of a single day as middle-aged college professor George Falconer (Colin Firth) contemplates suicide following the death of his longtime partner, who was killed in a car accident eight months prior. George spends the day reminiscing about the past, putting his affairs in order, and even enjoying a dinner date with his childhood friend (Julianne Moore) without anyone the wiser, but when one of his students (Nicholas Hoult) takes a sudden interest in his well-being, George begins to rethink his fatal plan.

Admittedly, not a whole lot happens over the course of the film’s 99-minute runtime, but it’s so visually stunning that the anemic plot isn’t a big problem. With Ford’s background in fashion, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the ‘60s-era costumes and production design are flawless, but Eduard Grau’s cinematography is the real treat, transforming the movie into a perfume ad come to life that beautifies the style and sophistication of the period. Colin Firth also delivers a career-best performance as a broken man struggling to get through the day without falling apart in front of his friends and colleagues, and Moore and Hoult offer ample support in limited roles. Though the movie does drag a bit during its final act, “A Single Man” is a poignant drama about love and loss that will serve as the perfect calling card should Ford decide to quit his day job and focus on filmmaking.

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