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Single Man, A


Stars: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Nicholas Hoult

Director: Tom Ford

Here's a film - made by a top fashion designer and with a great leading performance - that desperately wants to be better than it is. Soulful violin music plays in the background (well, actually the foreground) as George (Firth), a gay, middle-aged college professor, lives still engulfed by grief, following the death of his long-time partner (Goode) in a car crash.

His only friend seems to be slightly raddled beauty Charley (Moore) with whom he had a youthful fling, although he finds himself battened on to by student Kenny (Hoult), even as he contemplates suicide.

Firth, with a slashed-back haircut that makes him look like Bill Pullman, is always worth watching (and listening to) and the 'party' scene between him and Moore gives the morose affair some much-needed vibrancy. It's painted in bright colours, too, which are drained from the screen for the professor's everyday life (yes, Mr Ford, I get it).

Hoult plays his role rather too obviously, while Goode has little to do (but does it well) as the lost love. It's all rather enervating and claustrophobic, even if the performances do keep it afloat.

David Quinlan

UK/USA 2009. UK Distributor: Icon. Colour by deluxe.
101 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 0.

Review date: 07 Feb 2010