A Single Man | Chicago Reader

A Single Man

Fashion designer Tom Ford makes his directing debut with this haunting adaptation (cowritten with David Scearce) of Christopher Isherwood's groundbreaking 1964 novel about gay love. A closeted British professor in southern California (Colin Firth, outstanding) is so despondent over the death of his longtime lover (Matthew Goode) that he plans to kill himself, but a series of unsettling encounters jolts him out of his grief. Ford's eye for period detail is exact; brief cutaways, incisive dialogue, and charged glances telegraph the cold-war paranoia and sexual alienation of the early 60s. The game cast, including Julianne Moore as the professor's onetime lover and Nicholas Hoult as an admiring student, is well served by cinematographer Eduard Grau, whose color washes, from desaturated tones to a Technicolor sunset, mirror the protagonist's swirling emotions. R, 99 min.



  • Tom Ford


  • Colin Firth
  • Julianne Moore
  • Nicholas Hoult
  • Matthew Goode
  • Jon Kortajarena
  • Paulette Lamori
  • Ryan Simpkins
  • Ginnifer Goodwin
  • Teddy Sears
  • Aaron Sanders
  • Lee Pace
  • Jon Hamm


  • Tom Ford
  • Chris Weitz
  • Andrew Miano
  • Robert Salerno

What others are saying

  • Show 3 more reviews...
    • Single Vision

      Tom Ford's film debut is inventive visually, but lacks a strong narrative every movie needs — By James DiGiovanna
    • Tom Ford's A Single Man is a beautiful study of sadness

      On the surface, A Single Man can register as an exquisitely constructed mood piece, too mannered and perfect for its own good. Fashion designer and former Gucci creative director Tom Ford's debut film centers on a gay man in 1962 Los Angeles who is contending with a profound loss. As he goes about the course of his day, English professor George Falconer (Colin Firth) reflects on his partner Jim (Matthew Goode, glimpsed in flashback), who has recently died in a car accident. It is a momentous loss, and it has driven George to an existential dead-end. — By Felicia Feaster
    • A Single Man full of grace

      Colin Firth's nuanced performance risks making him as much an icon to the gay community as he is to Jane Austen fans — By Carsten Knox

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