Review: A Single Man

It may be as perfectly stylied as a Gap model, but it’s also got plenty of heart

Director: Tom Ford
Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Nicholas Hoult
Released: 12/02/2010
Rated: 12A

A Single Man is adapted from the novel by British author Christopher Isherwood. It is the story of George Falconer (Firth), an English academic in LA who, struggling to come to terms with the death of his partner, starts contemplating suicide. Through the course of one day, Falconer meets a series of people from his past and his present as he prepares himself for death.

The film is written and directed by American fashion designer Tom Ford, and stars Bridget Jones’ Colin Firth, and Skins’ Nicholas Hoult. If alarm bells are ringing now, then fear not: both put in sterling ‘serious’ performances, which are initially surprising, then completely engrossing. Firth’s performance is magnificent – coolly cynical, alternately stoical and impassioned – and well deserving of his Best Actor nomination at this year’s Oscars. Hoult also impresses, with his American accent impeccable throughout.

The styling and design of the film is fantastically evocative of early ‘60s Los Angeles: the suits are as sharp as any in Mad Men, and the scenery is beautiful. Ford utilises flashback with great effect, and handles changes in colour and lighting – which could easily become overbearing – with real skill and subtlety.

A Single Man is a moving story of love and loss, told with real nuance and style, and is not to be missed.

Adam Kirkup