A Single Man

2009

A Single Man

Critics Consensus

Though the costumes are beautiful and the art direction impeccable, what stands out most from this debut by fashion designer Tom Ford is the leading performance by Colin Firth.

85%

TOMATOMETER

Reviews Counted: 187

81%
liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 58,180

TOMATOMETER

N/A
All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0

AUDIENCE SCORE

81%
Average Rating: 3.8/5

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Movie Info

In Los Angeles 1962, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis George Falconer, a 52 year old British college professor is struggling to find meaning to his life after the death of his long time partner, Jim. George dwells on the past and cannot see his future as we follow him through a single day, where a series of events and encounters, ultimately lead him to decide if there is a meaning to life after Jim. George is consoled by his closest friend Charley, a 48-year-old beauty who is wrestling with her own questions about the future.

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Cast

Colin Firth
as George Falconer
Julianne Moore
as Charlotte
Ginnifer Goodwin
as Mrs. Strunk
Ryan Simpkins
as Jennifer Strunk
Teddy Sears
as Mr. Strunk
Paul Butler
as Christopher Strunk
Aaron Sanders
as Tom Strunk
Keri Lynn Pratt
as Blonde Secretary
Jenna Gavigan
as Other Secretary #1
Alicia Carr
as Other Secretary #2
Lee Pace
as Grant
Ridge Canipe
as Young Boy
Elisabeth Harnois
as Young Woman
Erin Daniels
as Bank Teller
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News & Interviews for A Single Man

Critic Reviews for A Single Man

All Critics (187) | Top Critics (46)

  • This is an important homosexual film based on a first-rate novel with a first-rate cast and probably a harbinger of similar movies to come. Many viewers will be disappointed that the movie only hints at intimacy rather than showcasing it.

    Jan 16, 2018 | Full Review…

    Ed Koch

    The Atlantic
    Top Critic
  • Firth's portrayal of a man repressing his grief while being unable to repress his instinct for love and for life is excellent and moving, while Ford's balancing of depth and surface is precarious but ultimately winning.

    Feb 16, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The film is an aesthetic pleasure, like being in a designer hotel, reading a deliciously sad novel.

    Feb 16, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • The private tragedy of George is never transformed into the gripping stuff of public drama; his story doesn't become our story. While A Single Man may dazzle the eye, it leaves the heart untouched.

    Feb 16, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Delicately, and rather brilliantly, Firth suggests how his quiet heroism is mingled with notes of irony and self-deprecation. It is a poignant, deeply compassionate portrait.

    Feb 16, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The kind of confident debut that radiates personality and visual flair while retaining a quietly fluttering heart.

    Feb 16, 2010 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for A Single Man

A deeply touching film with a beautiful cinematography and art direction, a wonderful score and a remarkable direction by fashion designer Tom Ford. Still, what stands out more than anything else is Colin Firth's fantastic leading performance.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Warning spoilers! Colin Firth gives a great performance. Set in the 1960s Colin is a college professor in LA. He gets devastating news about his partner of 16 years, who died in an accident and Colin isn't welcome to the funeral. He decides he is going to commit suicide. After interactions with different characters he decides not to do it but iconically suffers a heart attack.

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

One of the best of the year. Absolutely beautiful on every level. Stunning performances. I heart Tom Ford.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

Based on a novel, this is the directorial debut of fashion designer Tom Ford. And, you know what, if he wanted to, the man could make a second career for himself in film because as far as debuts go, it's pretty good. The story concerns a British professor named Georgewho teaches English at a California university. It's November 1962, and the Cuban Missle Crisis has had people on edge for a month. For 8 months now, George has been mourning the loss of his long time partner Jim, whom he was with for 16 years. It hasn't been easy for George, but somehow, he has managed. Yet, that is not enough, and he's reached the point where he's decided that he'd be better off if he'd commit suicide and put an end to his suffering. The fim follows George over the course of what he is trying to make his final day. Most thigns happen as usual, but then there are of course the moments where he takes care of final bits of business and gets some loose ends tied up. Along the way, he has encounters with various people that have him thinking that mayeb he does still have a life that's worth livign after all. Interspersed throughout this narrative are various flashbacks from George's life together with Jim. Despite being a serious character driven drama filled with sadness and pain, there are also a number of moments of hope, humor, and love. Underscoring the film is also a great sense of beauty. Even the darker moments have a kind of sad beauty to them, making the film very moving and touching. This is a smart film filled with an excellent lead performance by Colin Firth, and some terrific supporting ones by Julianne moore, Nicholas Hoult, Matthew Goode, and Jon Kortajarena. The music is quite emotional and moving, and, as one moght expect (given Ford's background), this is a gorgeous looking film with some top notch art direction, set design, and costumes. As good as the film is though, it's not perfect. I can probably forgive him for this since it's debut and he's morwe used to fashion, but I think Ford overdirects this film at times. I don't think there needed to be as much slow-mo, or the filter shifts from color to b&w. I think he was maybe just nervous or directed the film self consciously, trying too hard to make a good first impresion. In all honesty, I think it would have been better had he just trusted his actors and let them do the heavy lifting until he strengthened his chops. Aside from that though, I don't have any real complaints. I think the film is well done, not boring, and mostly finds the right tone. It occasionally feels a bit heavy handed, but again, I think it's forgivable. It does handle the material in a sensible manner though, and I appreciate that. You should give this a watch, because it's pretty good.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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