A Single Man

Rated 2.0

In 1962, a Los Angeles college professor (Colin Firth) struggles to cope with the sudden death of his lover (Matthew Goode), seeking consolation from a friend (Julianne Moore) and fielding romantic overtures from one of his students (Nicholas Hoult). Fashion designer Tom Ford turns filmmaker, directing and co-writing the script (with David Scearce), adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel. The book was hailed as an early landmark in the gay liberation movement, but it’s old news now, and Ford’s handling of the story is tentative and overliterary. Firth is excellent, as usual, but his character is so lugubriously mopey that his plight inspires more embarrassment than sympathy; flashback scenes between the two lovers are so filtered through his grief that we get little sense of happiness lost.