A portrait of grief, A Single Man is a look at one person's difficult position at a very different time in history.

George Falconer (Colin Firth) has been in a prolonged state of stasis. An Englishman living in California and teaching literature at college in November 1962, George is still reeling from the death of his partner Jimmy (Matthew Goode) eight months ago in a car accident. Still closeted, though he lived with Jimmy, George feels like he's going through the motions of life. Jimmy's day involves time with his partying friend Charley (Julianne Moore), a run-in with a gigilo Carlos (Jon Kortajarena), and the student Kenny (Nicholas Hoult) who may or may not be flirting with George. And George is putting his affairs in order and bringing a gun with him...

A Single Man is a profoundly personal film. Rather than lecturing on gay rights or commenting on history (the Cuban missile crisis is a footnote in the background of George's troubles), this movie is all about George and his thoughts as he moves through his world.

Colin Firth is wonderful in the lead role. He beautifully makes George a man who seems to say and do all the right things to get by, yet who feels the need for more. When George begins talking with his students about the fear of the minority, you can feel him trying to reach out while maintaining his secret. The rest of the cast is solid, yet there to support Firth. Director Tim Ford has a delicate touch with Firth's portrayal, though I would have liked less extreme close-ups to reflect the character's state of mind. All in all, A Single Man is a very moving and thoughtful movie experience.

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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