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A Single Man (2009)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 69,359 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 235 user | 272 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

An English professor, one year after the sudden death of his boyfriend, is unable to cope with his typical days in 1960s Los Angeles.

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(novel), (written for the screen by), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 31 wins & 36 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jim
Jon Kortajarena ...
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Paul Butler ...
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Aline Weber ...
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Other Secretary #1
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Other Secretary #2
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Storyline

It's November 30, 1962. Native Brit George Falconer, an English professor at a Los Angeles area college, is finding it difficult to cope with life. Jim, his personal partner of sixteen years, died in a car accident eight months earlier when he was visiting with family. Jim's family were not going to tell George of the death or accident, let alone allow him to attend the funeral. This day, George has decided to get his affairs in order before he will commit suicide that evening. As he routinely and fastidiously prepares for the suicide and post suicide, George reminisces about his life with Jim. But George spends this day with various people, who see a man sadder than usual and who affect his own thoughts about what he is going to do. Those people include Carlos, a Spanish immigrant/aspiring actor/gigolo recently arrived in Los Angeles; Charley, his best friend who he knew from England, she who is a drama queen of a woman who romantically desires her best friend despite his sexual ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

professor | friend | class | accident | suicide | See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some disturbing images and nudity/sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

17 December 2009 (Israel)  »

Also Known As:

Samac  »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£502,009 (UK) (12 February 2010)

Gross:

$9,166,863 (USA) (16 April 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In his acceptance speech when he won a BAFTA for Best Actor on 21 February 2010, Colin Firth revealed that he had been on the point of turning down the part and had the email to director Tom Ford in his outbox, waiting to be sent. Then a man arrived to repair his refrigerator and Firth reconsidered. He thanked "the fridge guy" in his speech. See more »

Goofs

Jullianne Moore's hairdo goes through numerous changes during their evening at her home. Sometimes the curls are tighter and then looser. Once the bang is heavy and then it is lighter. See more »

Quotes

Carlos: Sometimes awful things have their own kind of beauty.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Scène d'Amour
(uncredited)
Written by Bernard Herrmann
[from Vertigo (1958)]
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A role tailor-made for Colin Firth
18 October 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

With Tom Ford at the helm, the very least you'd expect from his adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's novel is a parade of gorgeous men in well-cut suits. Certainly there's enough Kennedy-era period detail here to satisfy the most ardent fan of Mad Men (and an uncredited voice cameo from Jon Ham). But the meticulously edited trailer gives no hint of the warmth and humour that underscore this potentially bleak meditation on love and loss.

The action takes place over the course of just one day (and night) -- 30 November 1962 -- in the life of handsome, middle-aged college professor George (Colin Firth). Like his friend, neighbour and one-time lover Charley (Julianne Moore), George is an expat in LA. He has a good job and a well-appointed home in a picture-perfect suburban street, but since the death of his long-term lover Joe (Matthew Goode) a few months earlier, George has been going through the motions. Now today it appears that he is putting his affairs in order, with a view to ending it all.

I must confess that I never swooned over Colin Firth's Mr Darcy back in the 90s and I've found it increasingly hard to relate to the repressed, lovelorn and frankly lumpen Englishmen he often plays. But here he's a revelation. As George's day unfolds, a series of reveries -- erotic, nostalgic, humorous and sad -- reveal the man behind the immaculately suited exterior. Whether perched on the loo wryly observing his neighbours, lavishing praise on a bemused secretary, or enduring a discourse on bomb shelters from a colleague (Lee Pace), Firth shows a welcome lightness of touch. He's tender and tolerant as Moore's gin-sodden hostess berates him for his inability to be the (heterosexual) man she needs. And his obsessive-compulsive fumbling with a gun and a sleeping bag are hilarious.

Moore expertly conveys the fragility and hopelessness of a woman once married and once feted for her looks, who is now staring into the abyss through the bottom of a bottle of Tanqueray's. It reminded me of some of her best work -- in Safe, Boogie Nights and The Hours -- and made me wish she'd stop wasting her talent playing second fiddle to the likes of Nicolas Cage and Samuel L Jackson.

It's a film in which the camera restlessly prowls in search of physical perfection: in the well-tended gardens of George's neighbourhood; the piercing blue eyes of flirtatious student Kenny (Nicholas Hoult); and the chiselled looks of Goode's doomed lover. But the script, co-written by Ford and David Scearce, ensures that this never descends into pastiche or glossy melodrama.


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