It's no surprise that fashion designer Tom Ford would make a visually beautiful film. The fact that said film is deeper than its glamorous surface, however, is what makes this potentially depressing story (based on a Christopher Isherwood novel) so gratifying. A knowing use of color and sound fills even the most languid moment with unspoken emotion, evoking an exquisite melancholy. Aided by the exemplary performances of Colin Firth and an especially fabulous Julianne Moore, A Single Man is an auspicious directorial debut. It is subtly heartbreaking in ways reminiscent of two other understated, stylish films set in a similar time period, In the Mood for Love and Far From Heaven, showing once again that repression may not be ideal but it can make for marvelous cinema.