A Single Man - Blu-ray Review

'beautiful, poetic... combines outstanding visuals with a haunting, almost lyrical, script'

A beautiful, poetic, story of love, loss and living in 1960s Los Angeles, Tom Ford's A Single Man works on many levels and excels on many more. Combining outstanding visuals with a haunting, almost lyrical, script from Ford and co-writer David Scearce, the fashion designer-cum-director has made the apparently impossible: an art house film of outstanding natural beauty that contains a narrative meaty enough for the mainstream to enjoy.

Ford's confidence as a first-time writer/director is astounding. The London-based designer has great fun toying with camera filters and colour as he blends a heartbroken George Falconer (Colin Firth) in to and out of his desaturated and lonely world, creating warmer sunset colours whenever Falconer's heart is cheered by a friend. The fact that, occasionally, all of the above happens in a single shot is nothing short of revolutionary.

Espousing the virtues of the visuals is all too easy (Ford's sixties setting is also fantastically realised through a tiny number of locations) but nothing would function acceptably here without a gripping story and whip-smart script and A Single Man's proves both heart-warming and cleverly written. Falconer, an intellectual with a capital 'I', spends his pre-planned last day on Earth remembering his dead lover Jim (Matthew Goode), dining with friend Charley (Julianne Moore) and being pursued by student Kenny (Nicholas Hoult) and each one of these tiny pieces of interaction is a narrative joy. Into this Ford and Scearce blend musings on education, on what it means to be in a homosexual relationship (as opposed to, or in comparison to, a heterosexual one) and on what it means to live and be loved. It's a fantastic melting pot of intellectual discussion and warm moments of genuine and creative character.

The end, when it comes, sees Ford and Scearce provide the viewer with complete narrative satisfaction even though many will have spotted the get-out from miles away. It remains touching whilst encouraging shock and nurturing awe. Like so much of the film, Ford shows a lightness of touch which only deserts him once during the run time: a heavy-handed scene where Charley and George discuss the past, which is the film's only off-key note. Other than that this is a real joy of a character story; warm, deep and, of course, absolutely beautiful.

Look further...

'The film's profound meaning is that sometimes, unnecessary rush won't help, and when the irreversible happens, there won't be any time for and absolutely no use of sobbing' - Eternity Of Dream, 5/5


  1. Magnificent film, glad you gave it five stars.

  2. Yeah, really liked it. Enjoyed almost every moment and I'll certainly be purchasing it sooner rather than later.

  3. I attended the North American premiere of "A Single Man" at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. This is the first foray into the film estimated designer Tom Ford, the leader of his own screenplay based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood. In a word, "A Single Man is a triumph.

  4. A Single Man is truly amazing, and it's one of those films which can only be described as 'cinema'. It's not just a movie, it is cinema, through and through.

  5. Mallika - glad you enjoyed it, must have been quite an experience, attending its premiere at Toronto!

    Stevee - I know exactly what you're saying; Ford takes a good script with a fairly standard basic story and turns it into a truly cinematic work.