Saturday, 15 September 2012

Film Review: A SINGLE MAN (2009)

A Single Man - poster Director: Tom Ford
Writers: Christopher Isherwood (novel), Tom Ford & David Scearce (written for the screen by)
Running time: 92 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Drama
UK Release date: 12th February 2010

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 15th September 2012.


This is most definitely not the kind of film I would usually watch but it was so well received by the critics I persuaded myself to take a look. I have to say that, yes, there were things that impressed me about it, however I did struggle a bit with the subject matter (more on that later). Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

A Single Man - 3 We are told the story of one day in the life of George. It is 1962, he is gay and he has recently lost Jim, his partner of several years in a car crash. It soon becomes apparent that George has special plans for this particular day; but he has to get through it first. He is a professor of English at a University in California and, for some reason; he appears a little distracted in his lecture. That’s not to say he doesn’t come out with some sage advice for his students. One in particular, Kenny, seems very keen to strike up a conversation with him. After work he runs a few errands, during which he meets a young Spanish man, Carlos, who tries to pick him up. Later, having set everything for when he returns home, George goes out to meet his female friend, and one-time lover, Charley. They spend the evening reminiscing about lost opportunities before George returns home. The film is interspersed with flashbacks to when George and Jim were together; culminating with how they met. This seems to strike a chord with George and he feels impelled to return to the bar where it all began… I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Tom Ford Division) will be replacing my entire wardrobe (again).

A Single Man - 1 Really well made and, given the director, there is no surprise that it looks immaculate and extremely stylish. A great performance by Colin Firth as George is the highlight of this piece. He is ably supported by Julianne Moore who, as Charley, put on one of the best English accents I’ve ever heard from an American on screen. Also worthy of note were Nicholas Hoult as Kenny, Matthew Goode as Jim (in flashback), Jon Kortajarena as Carlos and Ryan Simpkins as the neighbours pesky daughter, Jennifer Strunk.

A Single Man - 7 Although it’s an extremely stylish and well made film I must admit I found it hard to watch despite Colin Firth’s excellent performance. I guess the subject matter of the piece is something I don’t find I have any interest in. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a homophobic thing, I have had friends that are gay and it hasn’t bothered me in the slightest. This one just didn’t do a lot for me I’m afraid; if it had been made about a heterosexual couple I guess it would never have seen the light of day, and that’s just where the problems begin. I think it’s a story that has been told many times before but because it’s about a gay man in the 60’s and it was made by Tom Ford it’s special. Well, for me, it wasn’t all that special; I will, however, still give it a good score because I think it was very well made and I do appreciate its style and Colin Firth’s performance.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED (Just)

My score: 6.0/10

IMDb Score: 7.5/10 (based on 45,001 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 77/100: (Based on 35 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

A Single Man - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 85/100 (based on 175 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 78/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 53,650 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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George: [whispered] Just get through the goddamn day.

George: It takes time in the morning for me to become George, time to adjust to what is expected of George and how he is to behave. By the time I have dressed and put the final layer of polish on the now slightly stiff but quite perfect George I know fully what part I'm suppose to play.

Jennifer Strunk: Would you like to meet Charlton Heston? He's our scorpion. Every night we throw in something new to him and watch him kill it. Daddy says it's like a Coliseum. Daddy says he wants to throw you into the Coliseum.
George: No kidding. Why?
Jennifer Strunk: Well, he says you're light in your loafers. But you're not even wearing any loafers.

A Single Man - 6 George: If one is not enjoying one's present, there isn't a great deal to suggest that the future should be any better.

George: Let's leave the Jews out of this just for a moment. Let's think of another minority. One that... One that can go unnoticed if it needs to. There are all sorts of minorities, blondes for example... Or people with freckles. But a minority is only thought of as one when it constitutes some kind of threat to the majority. A real threat or an imagined one. And therein lies the fear. If the minority is somehow invisible, then the fear is much greater. That fear is why the minority is persecuted. So, you see there always is a cause. The cause is fear. Minorities are just people. People like us.

A Single Man - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:

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