A Single Man, directed by Tom Ford and opening tonight at Eveningstar Cinema, tells the story of George, a gay English professor in 1960s Los Angeles played by Colin Firth. Trying to make his way through the mundane rituals of his day in the depressed haze induced by the tragic death of his partner of 15 years, George decides to make this day his last. However, George's poignant struggle of love lost ultimately evolves into stories of interwoven and unconventional love.

The film's first scene sets the visual precedent for how the rest of the movie will proceed. The disturbing car crash that ends the life of George's partner, Jim, plays out in painfully stunning slow motion: blood falling from Jim's face is rendered jewel-like in Ford's hands. This transformation of disturbing events into beautifully distilled images occurs throughout the film. Moments of attempted suicide, of near heart attack, of complete and utter emotional distress are felt in their visceral and tragic fullness but depicted in such an artistic way that the viewer's pain is somehow, perhaps wrongly, ameliorated.

At its core, A Single Man is an interwoven story of loves lost, found and entangled. The central story is the absence of Jim, George's one true love. As the film progresses, we are afforded fragments of George's memories of their time together, glimpses of the now fleeting happiness he once held so close.

We meet another love of his life, Charley, played by the esteemed Julienne Moore. Moore performs fantastically in her few scenes, transforming what could have been a vapid character into a charming lush in floor length black and white who knocks back drinks to the sounds of her records.

Later, themes of love continue as we watch the sensuous tension between two college students in George's class—Lois and Kenny. Kenny's story, as well as the romantic pulse of the film, intensifies as he pursues his interest in George and

George reciprocates, tossing the notion of mentor—student relations, quite literally, into the ocean. Most intriguing of all, though, is the actual run in George has with a James Dean-esque hustler outside a liquor store. Their interaction, set to the backdrop of the smoggy L.A. sunset and the seductive rhythm of Spanish language reminds the viewer of the randomness and arbitrary quality of love.

The film reminds the viewer that Firth, playing the nuanced George, has something more substantive to offer as an actor than his many turns as the classic British rom-com love interest. Additionally, A Single Man marks the triumphant return of Ford to the forefront of the contemporary artistic world. Known for his work in the 1990s designing for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, and now under his own name, few believed he would ever ascend to such prominence again. However, with A Single Man, Tom Ford recovers from his maligned status as overrated renaissance man and reaffirms his place as go-to aesthete for Anna Wintour's Vogue set.

Because of Ford's impeccable artistic vision, the movie could be viewed on mute; with the exception of a few witty and appropriate lines, there wouldn't be lost. Whether this says something positive or negative about Ford's work depends wholly on his intentions for the film.

What sustains the film is Ford's incredible attention to detail and the way he uses the camera to show those details he crafted. The consciousness of color choice is evident throughout.

However, the accuracy Ford achieves in representing the 1960s veers dangerously close to visual perfection. This perfection is compounded by his choice of an unabashedly attractive cast, lending an aura of unbelievablity to some of the film, though it is easy to immerse oneself in the allure of it all rather than recognizing its improbability.

Ford's greatest strength is finding the beauty in the disturbing, the humor in the tragic, the glamour in the sadness. The film succeeds because it runs only 99 minutes. Had it been any longer, its cinematic shortcomings would have overpowered its sensory allure, but Ford managed to crop the film to such a length that the viewer wistfully wishes for more, as Firth's voice makes the final voice over and the screen blurs to black.

"A Single Man" will be playing daily at Eveningstar Cinema at 1:30, 3:35, 5:40 & 7:45 p.m.