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A Single Man Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Cashmere mourning jacket by Tom Ford. Read full review


Jen Yamato Profile

Gay grief, Gucci-style. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Some films aren't revelations, exactly, but they burrow so deeply into old truths about love and loss and the mess and thrill of life, they seem new anyway. A Single Man is one such film, one of the best of 2009

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Though the deliberate pace can feel slow to glacial at times, the visuals are gorgeous, and the melancholy mood is exquisitely evoked.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Sensitive and stylish.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Firth plays him as a man of his time who is also mournfully ahead of his time. He's addicted to his own broken heart. A Single Man may break yours as well.

    Read Full Review

  • See all A Single Man reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 17+

Mature drama about loss is visually striking but hollow.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the subject matter of this 1960s-set indie drama -- which centers on a man who's deeply mourning the loss of his longtime boyfriend and is desperate to find a reason to go on -- may be too heavy/morbid for younger teens (and even some older ones). The idea of suicide is explored, and the main character's world feels incredibly bleak at times, though he does manage to find moments of joy. Expect a fair amount of male nudity (though no frontal shots), plus some smoking, drinking, and swearing ("s--t").

  • Families can talk about how the movie portrays loss. What would it be like to be in George's shoes? Have you ever lost a loved one? Do George's feelings and reactions seem realistic?
  • How do society's norms during the time the movie takes place affect George's sense of isolation? How have (or haven't) things changed since then?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The movie deals with the impact of the loss of a loved one; it's a hard topic, but it's explored in an honest way. Friendship appears to be a lifeline, but only just.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: George is a once-lively man who has lost his will to live following the death of his longtime companion. But even in his darkest hours, he’s compassionate and able to find moments of joy, if only fleetingly.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: A man buys bullets for a gun. He practices different ways he could shoot himself. A man dies in a car accident; his body is shown on the ground, bloodied.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Lots of instances in which men are shown nude (though not from the front), frolicking in the ocean or floating underwater. Two men kiss. Discussion between a man and a woman about their previous coupling.

  • language false2

    Language: A few instances of swearing (“s--t”).

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Some labels shown, including Bayer, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some period-accurate smoking. Characters are also shown drinking, some to inebriation.