Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Just about every sequence and flourish and detail in Ford's film feels and looks right. It is primarily Firth's triumph. But it is not a solitary one.
Los Angeles Times:
Ford luxuriates in the details of his period setting, but the movie rarely gets below the surfaces he has worked so hard to construct.
Mary F. Pols,
It's not a particular political bent that makes you fall for George. It's Firth. This is an unaffected, sincere and very subtle performance, the best of his career...
New York Times:
While A Single Man has its flaws, many of these fade in view of the performance and the power of Isherwood's story.
What's remarkable is how Firth, with the smallest of gesture or nuance, lets us see this man's heartbreak without ever letting it burst through his carefully controlled surface.
A Single Man proves a film can look and feel like a 99-minute perfume commercial and still register as a poignant meditation on grief, memory, and loss.
Firth plays a drowning man who can't yell for help, and it's an awful thing to see.
Los Angeles Times:
We're always looking for those performances that truly define an actor, where we can sit back and simply watch the talent soar. For Colin Firth, A Single Man is that film.
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.
Christian Science Monitor:
It's a dirgelike odyssey sparked by Julianne Moore's overheated turn as George's best friend -- a welcome respite from Firth's clenched emoting.
In this beautifully tailored drama, content and style have as vital a relationship as George and Jim did. The one would be lost without the other.
A Single Man still stands as a vivid portrait of life behind a veil, and Firth certainly delivers one of the best performances of the year.
This is the first movie directed by Tom Ford, the former fashion designer, and he proves a born filmmaker with a rapturous eye.
Despite its downbeat theme, A Single Man is ultimately optimistic about the human capability to gradually make peace with seemingly insurmountable pain and tragedy.
The movie has a hushed, sensual intensity and formal elegance that leaves no doubt Ford knows what he's doing behind the camera.
Two characters trying and failing to drown their hopes and regrets, and two strong actors refusing to be tight-laced by a director's exercise in style: here is a mood piece looking for a fight.
Wrenching and ravishing. ... An exquisite, almost sensual grief suffuses every frame.
New York Daily News:
A Single Man -- the striking directorial debut from fashion designer Tom Ford -- is so unusually beautiful it would be easy to dismiss it as superficial.
New York Post:
Colin Firth finally leaves Mr. Darcy behind -- and will likely net an Oscar nomination -- with his deeply moving, career-redefining performance as a '60s gay man struggling with death and isolation in A Single Man.
New York Observer:
As a movie, it has all the life of a boxed pink taffeta sample at Bergdorf that never leaves the stockroom.
While it's impossible to deny the artistic intent of Ford's cinematic compositions, his style erects an emotional barrier between the central character and the audience, resulting in a pace that is at times sluggish.
As Ford's first film, this story, based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood, must have had special meaning.
Ford is a true visionary, but it's his humanity that gives the love story a ravishing, bruised grandeur.
A Single Man, un film de Tom Ford, is all art and no direction -- it's a picture made up of visual choices with almost no filmmaking sandwiched between.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Several diverse currents come together in A Single Man to form a good movie and a great opportunity for actor Colin Firth.
Globe and Mail:
Colin Firth isn't the only reason to see A Single Man, but he's certainly the best.
A Single Man is more than a pretty movie. It's also a careful examination of love, loss and mourning.
For a gentle man who's lost his love, solitude has become a life sentence that simply must end. Firth makes that ache subtly, splendidly visible.
Firth's portrayal of a man repressing his grief while being unable to repress his instinct for love and for life is excellent and moving, while Ford's balancing of depth and surface is precarious but ultimately winning.
Though the deliberate pace can feel slow to glacial at times, the visuals are gorgeous, and the melancholy mood is exquisitely evoked.
Like the speck of sand that seeds a pearl, it's the tiny fleck of kitsch at the heart of A Single Man that makes it luminous and treasurable, despite its imperfections.
No more than 10 minutes in, the movie already has the feel of an exquisitely preserved corpse laid out for viewing.
How fitting that Firth should carry A Single Man, a movie of quiet but potent emotional power, perfectly suited to his singular gifts.