A sorrowful beauty infuses every frame of this remarkable debut feature from fashion designer Tom Ford. Loosely based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man visits a single day in the life of gay Brit expat George Falconer (Colin Firth), a teacher at a Los Angeles college who plans on suicide to end his pain over the death of his lover, Jim (Matthew Goode). The film is stunningly visualized, with Ford achieving a feeling for light and textureto rival Wong Kar-wai's. Life with Jim is seen in black-and-whit eflashbacks that contrast vividly with the rich color palette of his present encounters, notably with Kenny, beautifully played by Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy), a student whose interests exceed the academic, and his British friend Charley (Julianne Moore), a divorcee who fantasizes that George will marry her. Moore is explosively good, especially in her drunk scene. But the film belongs to Firth. Uncanny at showing the heart crumbling under George's elegant exterior, he gives the performance of his career. Ford is a true visionary, but it's his humanity that gives the love story aravishing, bruised grandeur.
From The Archives Issue 264: May 4, 1978