In this tale, Colin Firth plays George, an English professor living in the 1960s. His boyfriend abruptly died in a car crash and George finds the grieving unbearable. Literally the color in his life faded into a cruel gray. He has decided that today will be the last day of his life. He goes through his day, not expecting to see tests towards his decision.
One of the major reasons the film is effective is that his day flows by beautifully. With this fatalistic mindset, his decisions towards human interaction are slightly different. He is able to admire the natural beauty of his secretary, for example. The camera and editing match his perspective as he hones in on what he finds stunning. Color sneaks back into his palate before it can be corrupted once more. He also allows himself to be slightly more truthful to the people around him without fear of long-term consequences. However, his day evolves through these decisions towards an unpredicted path. The character is an intelligent one but he keeps trying to battle emotions with logic. One of the best scenes in the movie is where he tries to plot out his suicide. All of his possessions are delicately laid out and identified for someone to find him. He silent searches for the cleanest way to shoot himself in the head, which is considerate and absurd at the same time.
Firth is wonderful as he tries to maintain a solid persona even though his peers are seeing through the cracks. With this premise, his performance requires many layers with every frame of the film. Through flashbacks, his talent is shown again when he plays another variation of the character. This is George in a state of bliss when his former lover was alive. Since this movie is entirely his narrative, it is possible that these flashbacks are tainted with bias. I believe they are. We are not seeing how the world was on this day, but how George’s world was that day. That is a world I am now much more interested in. This movie is so concise and fully realized that it is a shock this is Tom Ford’s first film. This is a treat.