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A Single Man
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A Single Man More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Only gave it a 7 cause of how extremely upset I was at the end...

7/10
Author: Dallon Thorup
6 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I would have given this movie a solid 9 or even a 10....however the ending left me in tears and so depressed that I couldn't bear to give it a high score...

The story is amazing, such a great journey through this man's life and loss and how to learn to appreciate the small things in life, however once things start to turn around for him in the end... HE HAS A HEART ATTACK AND DIES!!! I love movies that stir up emotions in me, make me feel and make me think, but I have a hard time enjoying movies that make me leave depressed...

All in all this is an amazing story and everyone should see it at least once.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Firth's performance does the vast majority of the work

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
22 April 2012

A Single Man is a film about loss and grief as it pertains to an English professor who has lost his partner of many years and who has decided to draw a line under it all and commit suicide. In terms of traditional plot there is not a huge amount to be said because for the majority of the film we are following him through various interactions while he also flashes back to times with his deceased partner. Some have accused it of being dull and, while I don't totally agree, I can understand where they are coming from because it is a film where a lot of time seems to be spent going almost nowhere in terms of narrative flow.

This seems like a deliberate decision to give this film a very still air to it, reflective and contemplative mostly as befits the subject matter. Unfortunately in terms of the "feel" it is perhaps too much in this direction because it can feel still to the point of being cold at times – like it has no heartbeat anymore; not often perhaps but often enough to bother in a 90 minute or so film. Thankfully there is one factor in the film that is hugely above all others – Colin Firth. He is excellent here and his character is totally convincing with his upright exterior barely concealing the pain he faces daily and he catches this sense of constant melancholy really well throughout the film. The only downside of this is that he is the entire film and I didn't always like the feeling that, were he giving a lesser performance, perhaps there would be very little else to engage me.

Certainly the supporting cast aren't enough. Moore is good but not given enough screen time to make more of her character. Hoult surprised me by how very stiff and poorly drawn he was – I've seen him do well before this film and he is certainly capable of more; I suspect he was directed thus to be part of the stillness of the piece as for sure he makes no ripples here. I haven't read the source material so I cannot say whether Ford did a good job of translating it for the screen, but to me he seems to have left the heart of the film to be entirely handled by Firth as actor – a decision that worked well for Firth, but not for the film. The direction is still and moves within beautifully designed sets and costumes, while the cinematography is good enough to survive the slightly gimmick feel that the visual toning that some scenes have.

Overall, A Single Man turns out not to be that good a film. It is overly still and it moves at an slow pace that does hurt it at times. The massive saving grace is that Firth is tremendous and that in all the stillness his slightest touch is magnified so that he delivers the heart and humanity that seems to be lacking in so many other regards. Worth seeing for his performance even if it does feel like he is delivering despite the rest of the film, not with it.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Much ado about nothing!

5/10
Author: jacklyns from United Kingdom
27 January 2012

A decent story which lacks solidity and is a bit of an anticlimax.The only element that keeps you going through to the end is Colin Firth's flawless genius. George's relationship with Jim is explored with sensitivity, and his grief is palpable, but the credit goes to Colin Firth's understated acting rather than any in-depth exploration of the relationship through the story. One accepts the fact that it's a slice of life depiction in the life of a single man coming to terms with his solitude, but it leaves the viewer with a deep sense of disquiet which isn't cathartic. The only memorable takeaway is the little nuggets of wisdom "Fear, after all, is our real enemy. Fear is taking over our world. Fear is being used as a tool of manipulation in our society. Itʼs how politicians peddle policy and how Madison Avenue sells us things that we donʼt need."

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Well-staged, but dry storytelling

6/10
Author: MovieGuy109 from United States
29 October 2011

A Single Man-**1/2-Watchable-Directed by: Tom Ford, Written by: Tom Ford, David Scearce, Christopher Isherwood (Novel). Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult, Matthew Goode, Jon Kortajarena, Paulette Lamori, Ryan Simpkins, Ginnifer Goodwin, Lee Pace.

Isherwood's novel comes to life as a homosexual college professor (Firth) deals with the death of his life long partner and contemplating suicide as encounters with an alcoholic neighbor and a smitten student of his makes him rethink his decision.

A nicely crafted adaptation of Isherwood's novel takes us down a journey into the depths of deep sorrow aided by fine performances from Firth (in his most dynamic role yet) and Moore as his alcoholic neighbor and sharp, personal direction from fashion designer Ford.

The thing that weighs the film down is the fact that the storytelling is dry and boring with no new insights on the issues of grief except for the fact that it presents it through the eyes of a homosexual. It is hopelessly downbeat (though it may be necessary) and lacking a punchline.

It is hopelessly flawed, too flawed for its own good, but it presents two actors at the peak of their power and a new director who is sure to bring good things if he continues at this.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Creative but unappealing

Author: abcj-2 from South Carolina, USA
21 May 2011

A Single Man (2009) - Perhaps I should have lowered my expectations, but Colin Firth's Oscar nominated performance gave me hope that I was to also see a great film. His performance was exceptional and the film had elements of greatness, but it was, overall, very unappealing to me.

All of the positive elements like the Art House look, the amazing sets, the perfectly suited wardrobe, the creative camera angles and closeups, and interesting choice of varying levels of light in the cinematography for the different scenes were all fascinatingly unique to the director. On the one hand, I'm sure this film was engrossing to many. I believe it deserves the accolades it received. The performances were outstanding and the plot unfolded in a thoughtful and unique way. Firth was well-deserving of his nomination. Director Tom Ford deserves any praise.

On the other hand, I prefer to be a full participant in a film rather than an onlooker. As a viewer, I found the above elements all a bit too visually distracting. I was conscious the whole time of being a viewer and was never engrossed like a full audience participant. It was hard for me to care what happened to Firth's character or any of the characters for that matter.

In hindsight, it just was not my kind of film aesthetically. I know that now. I don't plan to see it again and would only discourage anyone from doing so only if one prefers a more traditional approach to filming. Otherwise, one may find what was unappealing to me very entertaining. Regardless, I don't see how any viewer could come away without being depressed on some level. It is anything but an uplifting film.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Parts vs Whole

5/10
Author: adamshl from United States
11 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In spite of the absorbing detail revealed in this slow-moving film, it all doesn't seem to add up to much of a point. We have the camera lingering longingly on eyes, lips, and assorted body parts of its characters, yet it doesn't seem to have a sense of logic or pertinence.

The film for me failed to speak with a solid central theme. The various characters our downcast professor meets during his final day all sound and act with the same lack of motivation or involvement than does our prof.

In short, all the characters appeared on the same eye-probing level. They seem to be searching for something in each other, without contributing a whit to their own personal agendas. In a way these characters reminded me of those in "Women in Love," that is, adolescents in adult bodies, ambling nowhere and fumbling every step of the way.

While the cast was uniformly fine, the director seemed diffused and lacking cohesion. It was unfortunate that he chose to jazz up his film with flashy camera shots and editing; there may have been a more concise story to tell underneath the glitz.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Colin Firth's big moment

8/10
Author: Max_cinefilo89 from Italy
11 July 2010

It is not that uncommon that, within the film industry, people take a shot at directing despite having started in a completely different field, be it writing (David Koepp), acting (Ben Affleck) of, uh, production design (Saw V's David Hackl). Some, like Clint Eastwood, have even managed to turn it into the high point of their career. In the case of Tom Ford, however, the choice is a strange and fascinating one, given that he's best known as a fashion designer and his most significant contribution to the movies prior to stepping behind the camera was taking care of Daniel Craig's outfits for Quantum of Solace. And yet, somehow that makes him an ideal candidate for the job, given his sense for the visual, which is why A Single Man is among the more interesting directorial debuts of recent years.

Based on the eponymous, celebrated novel by Christopher Isherwood, the film is set during one single day in 1962. The protagonist is George Falconer (Colin Firth), a respected English professor who has become dissatisfied with life after the death of his longtime partner Jim (Matthew Goode, seen in flashbacks), to the point that he contemplates suicide. However, with the help of an old friend (Julianne Moore) and one of his students (Nicholas Hoult), he might still be able to find something to hang onto before it's too late.

As mentioned before, Ford has an eye for how a picture should look, and on that level A Single Man is practically faultless: the period reconstruction is reminiscent of Mad Men, a thing that shouldn't come as a surprise given the costume designer is the same (and as a bonus, Jon Hamm has an uncredited vocal role at the start of the movie), and gives a perfect idea of time and place. Unfortunately, it's another visual element that constitutes the film's sole big flaw, namely Ford's intriguing but ultimately grating decision to make the cinematography match the main character's mood (in short, the happier he is, the brighter the images). It's an approach that doesn't sit well with the thematic simplicity attached to the unpretentious screenplay.

More than anything, though, this is an actors' film, specifically one actor: sure, Ford deserves credit for making sure even the small parts are given to proper thespians (Lee Pace, Ginnifer Goodwin) and coaxing a lively, sympathetic performance out of Matthew Goode (compare with his other period piece, the rather dull Brideshead Revisited), not to mention Julianne Moore who hasn't had the chance to play such a meaty part in quite some time, but in the end it all comes down to Firth's ability to carry the entire picture. And carry it he does, leaving his trademark mannerisms behind and getting under the skin of a profoundly tragic yet immensely likable character, exuding charm as much as he makes us feel his pain. It is, without a doubt, his best work to date, as the BAFTA and the Best Actor prize he picked up in Venice appear to confirm.

Proving that sometimes great things come from the most unexpected sources, A Single Man is an admirable achievement: utterly gorgeous, moving and driven by an astounding central performance. If only all directorial debuts were like this.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Vapid, meaningless, pathetic, disconnected, depressing and utterly boring

1/10
Author: MntTrekker from United States
7 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoiler alert: It would be impossible to spoil this film!! If you don't enjoy the first ten or twenty minutes, then just skip to the end or turn it off. It doesn't get any better. Almost nothing actually happens.

I've read several of the 10-star reviews. They would be more persuasive to me if written in Greek. I'm sorry. I just don't get it.

In the scene in which the main character is preparing his suicide, I kept yelling at him to do it so as to end his misery (and my agony.) OK, this scene was funny... dunno if it was supposed to be. Should I upgrade it to two stars? Nah....

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Excellence

10/10
Author: moviemanMA from Massachusetts
14 January 2010

A Single Man stars Colin Firth as George, a middle aged college professor living in California. He is trying to deal with the loss of his lover Jim (Matthew Goode), who died in a car crash while visiting his family. The two had spent 16 years together, living a private lifestyle, sharing intimate moments by themselves, with their two dogs, and with a few friends like Charley (Julianne Moore), a friend of George from London.

George is drowning in the memory of Jim. He can barely get through the day. He is bombarded with constant reminders of the life they shared and it eats him alive. We find George hanging by a thread. He is having serious doubts about his situation and is fumbling with the idea of ending it all. Over the course of 24 hours, George will be presented with several obstacles that could persuade him from taking the plunge.

I am not very familiar with Firth's work. I have seen him in a handful of films like Love Actually, Shakespeare in Love, and A Christmas Carol. He is a fine actor with a solid body of work, but this is by far his crowning achievement. He has just the right amount of intensity coupled with a certain reservation. He hides his emotions, letting them through privately or to his close friend Charley. Where Firth shines is his ability to convey how he feels with facial expressions and body language.

There is a lot to be said of Firth's performance. Moore too deserves praise for her portrayal of George's lovesick friend from back home. However, I would like to praise three people for their stellar work on this film. Writer/director Tom Ford, cinematographer Eduard Grau, and composer Abel Korzeniowski.

Ford and Grau together create one of the most eye popping and visually stunning films of the year, dare I say the decade. Look at the way the colors fluctuate from muted tones to vibrant, lively colors depending on George's mood or state of mind. The way memories appear to be brighter than the present. There is a saying that memories fade. For George it is the exact opposite. He is a man who clings to the memory of his lost lover. Triggers like an old photo or a stranger's dog spark a flood of memories more vivid and alive than George himself.

I said earlier that George is a man who is drowning in the memory of his lover. Ford and Grau take that almost literally, showing us images of George naked underwater, twisting and squirming around grabbing at the water. It's a profound, beautiful image. One of many found throughout the film. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the images, one cannot disagree with the powerful emotions they evoke.

Another way to evoke emotion is through music. Korzeniowski is a Polish composer who is sure to gain a lot of accolades for his composition for this film. His use of ticking clocks reminded me of the type writer used in Dario Marianelli's composition for Atonement. It doesn't just keep the time of the music but is a representation of George's life. It ticks on and on but much like the heart, clocks don't last forever. The music is somber and soothing, like we are floating alongside George in the water.

Rarely does a debut film evoke this much emotion in me. 2009 in particular has given us some of the best feature film debuts in recent memory (Moon, (500) Days of Summer, Paranormal Activity, In the Loop). What makes A Single Man so special is Tom Ford. A fashion designer by trade, more notably credited for bringing Gucci back from bankruptcy, this film is his first and only credit outside of being the tailor for Quantum of Solace. This could be the birth of a new artist, the likes of which we haven't seen in many years. To have such a strong debut is an excellent sign of the things to come. At least I hope.

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9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Safe theme, bad everything

2/10
Author: Kamil Yellowfield from United Kingdom
23 July 2010

I guess the only thing this's been rated high was its concept. doesn't feel it was worked on, properly that is. there are so little things to worth your effort to watch it. Even, normally beautiful, ms. Moore looks and sounds irritating. to watch her efforts to sound like an English woman hurts. Noting against to gays, but this has over stepped what's acceptable as, well, tasteful. It's like forcing gay people (male ones) to watch playboy movies. Only things that were nice were to see Nicholas Hoult grown into a better looking, less annoying youngster. and to listen to Matthew Goode speak. i cannot claim to have reviewed much prior to this, but it made me force write something to save other people to be fallen the same mistake: the allure of rating

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