7.6/10
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265 user 296 critic

A Single Man (2009)

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3:45 | Trailer

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

Director:

Tom Ford

Writers:

Christopher Isherwood (novel), Tom Ford (written for the screen by) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
2,289 ( 30)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 38 wins & 55 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Colin Firth ... George
Julianne Moore ... Charley
Nicholas Hoult ... Kenny
Matthew Goode ... Jim
Jon Kortajarena ... Carlos
Paulette Lamori Paulette Lamori ... Alva
Ryan Simpkins ... Jennifer Strunk
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Mrs. Strunk
Teddy Sears ... Mr. Strunk
Paul Butler Paul Butler ... Christopher Strunk
Aaron Sanders ... Tom Strunk
Aline Weber Aline Weber ... Lois
Keri Lynn Pratt ... Blonde Secretary
Jenna Gavigan ... Other Secretary #1
Alicia Carr ... 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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

5 February 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Samac See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$217,332, 13 December 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$9,166,863, 18 April 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview with Terry Gross, Tom Ford explained that he created a back story for George's suit. He decided that George would've had it custom made on Saville Row on a trip home to England, which informed its cut and color. He also decided that the suit was a few years old, because 'old-school' British people of wealth tend to be thrifty with clothing. Ford put a label on the inside of the suit with George's name and 1957, the year it was made. See more »

Goofs

When Charley starts dancing to the second song, a green bottle is on the table in front of George, and a black bottle is to the right. In the next scene, the black bottle is in front of the green one. See more »

Quotes

George: [to Charley] Go to London. Change your life. And if you're not happy being a woman, stop acting like one.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.36 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

George's Waltz 1
(uncredited)
Written and Performed by Shigeru Umebayashi
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A role tailor-made for Colin Firth
18 October 2009 | by susannah-straughan-1See 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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