A Single Man


United States 2010, 99 mins
Director: Tom Ford
Starring: Julianne Moore, Colin Firth, Matthew Goode

The much-anticipated feature debut from former Gucci Creative Director Tom Ford, A SINGLE MAN follows a day in the suddenly shattered life of an English professor, George (Firth, BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY), whose partner of 16 years has unexpectedly passed away.

Complicating this scenario is the fact that the year is 1963 and George’s partner was a man. Despite the first stirrings of sexual revolution on George’s California campus, he exists in a world of antediluvian academia, in which his secret grief dares not reveal its true nature.

As George seeks solace in the twin poles of professional routine and narcotic pills, he begins to question whether he will ever escape the prison of his solitude and, indeed, whether his new life is worth living at all.

Enter vivacious divorcée Charley (Moore, BLINDNESS), George’s best friend and onetime darling of the London social scene who has succumbed to the hedonistic temptations of LA. She offers George an unsteady crutch, while a wide-eyed student (Hoult, Skins) sees through the façade of his professor’s personal crisis.

But it is Firth’s broad shoulders that carry the film. Freed from the strictures of the British rom-com, he offers a masterclass in quiet devastation, his careful mannerisms opening onto an ocean of grief behind those familiar brown eyes.

//Firth Goes Forth//

Back in 1995, Colin Firth plunged into a lake in the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice and came out the other side a superstar.

The son of second-generation missionaries, he spent his early years in Nigeria and the US Bible Belt before returning to England where he eventually took up drama lessons in London.

His background instilled in him a strong sense of civil rights. He has campaigned successfully in defence of asylum seekers, and is heavily involved with Survival International, an NGO that supports tribal peoples. He has now also launched his own political activism website, Brightwide.

How did this quiet, thoughtful and unassuming actor become an Oscar frontrunner? The answer isn’t just that his performance in A SINGLE MAN is one of the year’s most profound. Nor is it solely because he can connect with awards juries.

Firth’s appeal lies in the fact that he is a thoroughly modest superstar. At a time when celebrity currency has been devalued and Hollywood A-listers’ lives have turned into soap operas, Firth is a throwback to a more innocent age. Happily married, he radiates old-school charm and glamour.

Too cool to succumb to the pitfalls of fame, Firth seems untouched by Hollywood’s stardust. Against all the odds, the connection that he forged with audiences in 1995 is not just unbroken, but has been strengthened by his film career. He is that rarest of things: a British success story that we’re still proud of.

“At the heart of this extraordinary film is Firth's simply wonderful performance” - DAMON WISE, EMPIRE

“Colin Firth gives one of the finest, most affecting performances of his career” **** – WENDY IDE, THE TIMES

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