AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
A Single Man
Director: Tom Ford (Dir)
Release Date:   11 Dec 2009
Premiere Information:   Venice International Film Festival screening: 11 Sep 2009: AFI Fest: 5 Nov 2009
Production Date:   3 Nov--5 Dec 2008
Duration (in mins):   99
Print this page
Display Movie Summary

Cast:   Colin Firth (George [Falconer])  
    Julianne Moore (Charley [Charlotte])  
    Nicholas Hoult (Kenny [Potter])  
    Matthew Goode (Jim)  
    Jon Kortajarena (Carlos)  
    Paulette Lamori (Alva)  
    Ryan Simpkins (Jennifer Strunk)  
    Ginnifer Goodwin (Mrs. [Susan] Strunk)  
    Teddy Sears (Mr. Strunk)  
    Paul Butler (Christopher Strunk)  
    Aaron Sanders (Tom Strunk)  
    Aline Weber (Lois)  
    Kerri Lynn Pratt (Blonde secretary)  
    Jenna Gavigan (Other secretary #1)  
    Alicia Carr (Other secretary #2)  
    Lee Pace (Grant)  
    Adam Shapiro (Myron)  
    Marlene Martinez (Maria)  
    Ridge Canipe (Young boy)  
    Elisabeth Harnois (Young woman)  
    Erin Daniels (Bank teller)  
    Nicole Steinwedell (Doris)  
    Tricia Munford (Cashier)  
    Jon Hamm (Harold Ackerley)  

Summary: In Autumn 1962 in Los Angeles, college professor and British ex-patriot George Falconer awakens from an unsettling dream about the death of his lover, Jim, which occurred in a single car crash eight months earlier. Despite the passage of time, George continues to feel deeply depressed and continually recalls moments of his life with Jim, such as their opposite moods in the morning and Jim’s delight in their two fox terriers, one of which died with him in the accident. After rising and dressing meticulously, George has breakfast and recalls Jim’s comfort with his sexuality, such as when he boldly kissed George before one of the large windows in the architecturally striking modern home that Jim himself designed. After breakfast, George reflects that since Jim’s death he has not been able to see a future for himself but decides that this day will be different. As George’s phone rings, he glances at it and remembers the rainy winter afternoon when he sat reading, expecting a call from Jim, who had left two days earlier to visit his family in Colorado: Upon answering the phone, George is addressed by Jim’s cousin, Harold Ackerly, who informs him that Jim died in an accident the previous evening. Ackerly explains that although Jim’s parents did not want to contact George, he felt George should be told. Stunned, George asks about funeral services, but when he indicates he will attend, Acklerly informs him that the service is for family-only. George inquires if the dogs were with Jim and Ackerly says that only one was found dead at the scene and he has no knowledge of the other. After hanging up, George sits shocked for some moments, before bolting outside through the pouring rain across the street to the house of his best friend and fellow ex-patriot, Charlotte. In the present, George ignores the telephone and instead spends some moments in the bathroom, rereading portions of the novel he has assigned his college class. Outside, boisterous cries attract his attention and George peers out the window at his neighbors, the Strunks, who have three young, rambunctious children. As the phone rings again, George sighs, knowing that it is Charlotte, who goes by Charley, and reluctantly answers, agreeing to join her for dinner that evening. George then retrieves an empty revolver from his desk and places it in his briefcase before greeting his housekeeper, Alva. When Alva observes that George looks unwell, he assures her that he feels fine, then surprises her by thanking her for all her hard work and kissing her cheek. As he drives down the street moments later, George spots young Tom Strunk walking, his sister Jennifer jumping up and the youngest, Christopher, who is pointing a toy rifle at him. Responding in kind, George cocks his hand like a pistol and points it at Christopher, while his mother Susan waves. George arrives at the college, unheeding of the radio report of President John F. Kennedy’s speech about Russian missile bases in Cuba. In the English Department office, George startles one of the secretaries by complimenting her hairstyle and perfume. In the faculty lounge, a colleague, Grant, comments on George’s ashen appearance, but George ignores him and reflects that his students do not seem remotely interested in what he teaches. Despite George’s remark, Grant advises him to create a safe bomb shelter and warns him against sharing it with strangers. Later, in his class lecture, George answers a question about whether an author was anti-semitic by explaining that minorities are everywhere, mostly invisible to their societies. George adds that when minorities are perceived as a threat, they promote fear which, in turn, leads to their persecution. Listening intensely to George’s oration is student Kenny Potter and his some-time girlfriend, Lois. After class, Kenny approaches George and asks why George does not speak frankly more often. Admitting that he suspects that his comments were lost on the class, George is amused when Kenny asks if he has ever gotten high. Pleased when George opens up a little, Kenny playfully buys the professor a small pencil sharpener when they reach the faculty building. Back in his office, George cleans out his files and telephones Charley to ask what to bring that night and she requests Tanqueray gin. In his car, George is about to pull the revolver out of his briefcase when Kenny startles him by knocking on the window. Kenny asks if George would care to meet for a drink sometime, as he appears to need a friend. After politely evading Kenny’s request, George drives to his bank where he empties his safe deposit box of insurance papers, his mother’s wedding ring and a picture of Jim nude. Looking at the photo, George recalls the two men sunning on a rocky beach: Jim asks George about Charley and he explains that they knew each other in London years earlier and admits to sleeping with her a few times. Puzzled, Jim asks why George is with him if he sleeps with women. George replies that he falls in love with men and is in love with Jim. In the present in the bank lobby, young Jennifer Strunk approaches George to show him a jar with her pet scorpion that she has named “Ben-Hur” because the creature kills everything placed in the “arena” of his jar. Confiding that Mr. Strunk mentioned that George should be placed in the arena because he is “light in his loafers,” Jennifer admits being baffled as George never wears loafers. Susan approaches to retrieve Jennifer and invites George to a party that evening, but George explains that he has a previous engagement. From the bank, George proceeds to a gun shop where he buys bullets for the revolver, which the young clerk admires as an antique. In the parking lot, over which a huge movie billboard of a woman’s frightened eyes loom, George notices a fox terrier in a car and walks over to admire it as the owner, a young woman, returns. George pets the dog, and, smelling the top of its head, says they are a rarely seen breed. After the woman and dog drive away, George buys a bottle of Tanqueray but exiting the store, collides with a handsome young man. Apologizing that the shattered gin bottle has ruined the young man’s pack of cigarettes, George buys a new bottle and fresh cigarettes. The young man, with a heavy Spanish accent, introduces himself as Carlos and offers George a cigarette. In perfect Spanish, George remarks on Carlos’ beauty and flawless face. Delighted that George speaks his language, Carlos is then startled when George abruptly presses a twenty dollar bill into his hand. Believing that they now have an arrangement, Carlos follows George to his car. Embarrassed, George insists that Carlos is mistaken, but agrees to smoke another cigarette. Carlos relates that he is from Madrid and came to Los Angeles on the promise of an acquaintance to get him into movies, but has been held back by his heavy accent. Noting George’s sad demeanor, Carlos observes that he appears to need a friend. Back home at dusk, George hears the boisterous party at the Strunks as he carefully lays out his suit, instructions for his burial, insurance papers and a letter to Charley. George then recalls one evening a week before Jim’s trip to Colorado: Sitting together on the sofa reading, the two men bicker pleasantly about who should turn the record on the phonograph. Jim then admires their dogs, who live in the moment and are always content, and admits that if he died right then, he would die happily. In the present, George takes the revolver and sitting up in bed, places the barrel in his mouth, experimenting with various angles and positions. Dissatisfied and concerned about making a mess, George moves into the shower. After slipping unexpectedly down the wall, he returns to his bed, bringing along a sleeping bag in which he zips himself up, only to be interrupted by the telephone. Knowing that it is Charley, he answers, declaring that he has the gin and is on his way. Already somewhat drunk, Charley greets George warmly at the door in an elegant evening gown and with a fashionable hairstyle and announces that she is cooking for him. Airily referring to George as “Geo,” Charley insists they drink and smoke their troubles away, but expresses serious concern over George’s pallor. Waving away her concern, George informs Charley that he has decided to let go of the past completely and forever. After dinner, Charley asks George if he would return to London with her, as she has grown disappointed with America, but he refuses, saying he might consider it if Jim were alive. Charley then puts a slow, romantic song on the phonograph and she and George dance. Sensing his discomfort with her clinging manner, Charley hastens to change the record to a sassy jazz piece and the two playfully do the “twist.” Laying down on the floor afterward, George accepts one of Charley’s chic colored cigarettes and says he stopped smoking because Jim did not like it. Sighing, Charley asks if he ever considers that she and George might have had a real relationship, with marriage and children. When Charley dismisses George and Jim’s relationship as “not real,” George explodes in anger, declaring that their sixteen years together were real and not a substitute for anything. After George scorns Charley’s own failed nine-year marriage, she apologizes, admitting she is envious because she never had a relationship like his with Jim. Returning to their familiar bantering, George encourages Charley to do whatever she wants, but she admits returning to London would be a sign of personal failure. Declining another cocktail, George announces his departure and after disengaging a clutching Charley, lightly kisses her goodnight. Returning home under the bright light of the full moon, George takes up the revolver and recalls meeting Jim: Just after the end of WWII, outside of the Starboard Side bar, George makes eye contact with a handsome naval officer, Jim. The men chat outside for some time and when it begins to rain, hurry inside together. In the present, George lowers the gun from his forehead and wanders to another room for a drink. Hearing a noise in the yard he steps outside, then decides to go to the Starboard Side, which is nearby. Moments after he arrives at the bar, George sees Kenny enter, and realizing that it was him outside of George’s house, joins him in a booth. Kenny insists that he was just riding his bike in the neighborhood, then tells George that although he believes what George teaches has merit, he is discouraged by the emphasis on the past and cannot look forward to a future which may include a nuclear holocaust. The men toast to the present and death, which everyone has in common. When Kenny admits he is frequently lonely and feels cut off from others, George acknowledges that connecting with another human being is the thing that makes life worth living. Kenny then invites George to go for a midnight swim in the nearby ocean and George agrees. Jogging to the beach, the men strip and leap into water where they frolic for some moments until George grows disoriented in the strong surf and swallows some water, forcing Kenny to pull him to shore. They return to George’s home and, noting the sleeping bag still on George’s bed, Kenny asks if he is going camping. Offering to bandage a small abrasion on George’s forehead, Kenny opens a drawer and sees the nude photo of Jim. After an awkward moment with George, Kenny takes a shower and when he returns, praises the house design. George, noticing his watch has stopped, asks Kenny why he came to see him and the young man admits feeling concern for him. Assuring Kenny that he is fine, George then dozes off. When he awakens, George finds himself in bed and, rising, finds Kenny asleep on the sofa, where he has hidden George’s revolver. Smiling, George gently takes the gun, removes the bullets and locks it in his desk. Opening the screen door, George admires the full moon and the night air, then returns to the living room where he burns the letter to Charley. Going to his bedroom, George appreciates feeling a few moments of clarity about life when he abruptly feels a sharp pain in his left arm and collapses. As George lies on the floor dying, Jim comes to him and kisses his check before withdrawing into the dark. 

Production Company: Fade to Black Productions, Inc.  
  Depth of Field  
  Artina Films  
Production Text: In association with Artina Films
Distribution Company: The Weinstein Company  
Director: Tom Ford (Dir)
  Richard N. Graves (1st asst dir)
  Eric Sherman (2d asst dir)
  Matt Rawls (2d 2d asst dir)
  Brian Avery Galligan (Addl 2d asst dir)
Producer: Tom Ford (Prod)
  Chris Weitz (Prod)
  Andrew Miano (Prod)
  Robert Salerno (Prod)
  Jason Alisharan (Co-prod)
Writer: Tom Ford (Wrt for the screen by)
  David Scearce (Wrt for the screen by)
Photography: Eduard Grau (Dir of photog)
  Christopher Blauvelt (Cam op)
  Jason McCormick (1st asst cam)
  Paul Metcalf (2d asst cam)
  Stephen MacDougall (1st asst B cam)
  John Garrett (2d asst B cam)
  Eric Jensch (Cam loader)
  Cedric Martin (Steadicam op)
  Chuck Harrington (Librahead tech)
  Tom Boyd (Underwater cam op)
  Peter Lee (Underwater 1st asst cam)
  To Lee (Underwater 2d asst cam)
  Greg Mitchell (Video assist op)
  Jim Plannette (Gaffer)
  Marty Carrillo (Best boy elec)
  Claudio Rodriguez (Rigging elec)
  Douglas L. Yonker (Lighting tech)
  George Chappel (Lighting tech)
  Tim Molina (Lighting tech)
  Daniel J. Ochoa (Lighting tech)
  Rene Jimenez (Lighting tech)
  Jason H. Fitch (Lighting tech)
  Scott Williman (Lighting tech)
  Lloyd Campbell (Night lighting tech)
  Michael J. Berger (Night lighting tech)
  Manny Duran (Key grip)
  Jason Andrew (Best boy grip)
  Matt Horochowski (Dolly grip)
  Andy Chojnacki (Grip)
  Greg Flores (Grip)
  David Newbert (Grip)
  Alec Shepherd (Grip)
  Amber Maahs (Grip)
  Joseph H. Ruiz (Grip)
  Melissa Moseley (Still photog)
  Chapman Leonard (Dollies/cranes)
  JL Fisher Inc. (Dollies/cranes)
  TM Motion Picture (Grip and elec equip provided by)
  Leonetti (Grip and elec equip provided by)
  BeeBee (Night lights provided by)
  FotoKem (Film processing)
Art Direction: Dan Bishop (Prod des)
  Ian Phillips (Art dir)
  Florencia Martin (Art dept asst)
Film Editor: Joan Sobel (Ed)
  Ofe Yi (1st asst ed)
  Runway (Avid support)
Set Decoration: Amy Wells (Set dec)
  Joshua Wever (Key set prod asst)
  Liam Waters (Set prod asst)
  Jessamyn Land (Set prod asst)
  Chris Vargas (Set prod asst)
  Miguel Arroyo (Set prod asst)
  Christopher Hall (Set prod asst)
  Keith F. Sale (Leadman)
  Jill Rolie-December (Set dec buyer)
  Wendy Murray (Addl buyer)
  William Kelly (Set dresser)
  Keith McCarthy-Smith (Set dresser)
  Mark Pallatt (Set dresser)
  Geoffrey Nightingale (Set dresser)
  Jordan Steinberg (On set dresser)
  Gay Perello (Prop master)
  Brian Seccombe (Asst prop master)
  Grant Sawyer (Asst props)
  Fred Ortiz (Asst props)
  Lisa Mayor (Props prod asst)
  Alexander Panov (Set painter)
  Mike McCleneghan (Set painter)
  Robert Williams (Painter)
  Cliff Berns (Painter)
  Lars Peterson (Const coord)
  Lee Steven Ross (Lead scenic)
  Jose J. Peraza (Laborer foreman)
  Edward Guerrero (Greensman)
  Vincent Dery (Greensman)
  Danny Rea (Greensman)
  Adolfo Castanon (Greensman)
  Sean Leroy West (Greensman)
  Jaudi Negri (Greensman)
  Ricardo Baez (Greensman)
  Pilo Silva (Stand by greensman)
Costumes: Arianne Phillips (Cost des)
  Jonny Pray (Cost supv)
  Carin Richardson (Asst cost des)
  Bob Iannaccone (Key cost)
  David Page (Key set cost)
  Reiko Ann Endo Porter (Set cost)
  Lizz Wolf (Cost)
  Christian Snell (Cost prod asst)
  Maida C. Pirich (Seamstress)
  Wendy Polutanovich (Cutter/fitter)
  Tom Ford Menswear (Wardrobe for Colin Firth provided by)
Music: Abel Korzeniowski (Orig score)
  Shigeru Umebayashi (Addl mus)
  Julia Michels (Mus supv)
  Stephen Trask (Mus consultant)
  Julie Pearce (Mus ed, Post prod)
  Bryan Lawson (Mus ed, Prod prod)
  Abel Korzeniowski (Score prod by)
  Elliott Lawson (Score prod by)
  Mina Korzeniowski (Comp asst)
  Joel Iwataki (Mus score mixer)
  Sandy De Crescent (Orch contractor)
  Peter Rotter (Orch contractor)
  Jennifer Hammond (Mus copyist)
  Booker White (Mus copyist)
  Michael Nowak (Cond)
  Roger Wilkie (Featured violinist)
  Dave Walther (Featured violinist)
  Andrew Shulman (Featured cellist)
  Randy Kerber (Featured pianist)
  Warner Bros. Eastwood Scoring Stage (Mus rec at)
  Ryan Robinson (Warner Bros. stage crew)
  Greg Dennen (Warner Bros. stage crew)
  Jamie Olvera (Warner Bros. stage crew)
  Rich Wheele (Warner Bros. stage crew)
  Vincent Cirilli (Protools op)
  JNH Studios (Mus mixed at)
  Matt Ward (Asst eng)
Sound: Lori Dovi (Prod sd mixer)
  Jeff Blehr (Boom op)
  Laura Rush (Utility sd)
  Joe Eddie Casares (Utility sd)
  Wildfire Post (Post prod sd)
  Leslie Shatz (Sd des, Wildfire Post)
  Robert C. Jackson (Supv sd ed, Wildfire Post)
  David Esparza (Sd eff ed, Wildfire Post)
  Brian Dunlop (Foley ed, Wildfire Post)
  Callie Thurman (Asst sd ed, Wildfire Post)
  Leslie Shatz (Re-rec mixer, Wildfire Post)
  Gabe Serrano (Mix rec, Wildfire Post)
  Travis Mackay (ADR mixer, Wildfire Post)
  Wade Barnett (ADR rec, Wildfire Post)
  Goro Koyama (Foley artist, Wildfire Post)
  Andy Malcolm (Foley artist, Wildfire Post)
  Don White (Foley mixer, Wildfire Post)
  Jack Heeren (Foley mixer, Wildfire Post)
Special Effects: John E. Gray (Spec eff coord)
  Lori Baillie (Spec eff office coord)
  Morgan Guynes (Spec eff foreman)
  Darrell Burgess (Spec eff tech)
  Jared Baker (Spec eff tech)
  Roland Hathaway (Snow eff)
  Arthur G. Schlosser (Snow eff)
  Engine Room Visual Arts (Digital visual eff by)
  Dan Schmit (Vis eff supv, Engine Room Visual Arts)
  Michael Caplan (Visual eff exec prod, Engine Room Visual Arts)
  Don Osborne (Visual eff ed, Engine Room Visual Arts)
  Eric Heavens (Sr digital compositor, Engine Room Visual Arts)
  Padriac Culham (Digital artist, Engine Room Visual Arts)
  Jeff Varga (Digital artist, Engine Room Visual Arts)
  Steve Lloyd (Digital artist, Engine Room Visual Arts)
  John Egli (Digital artist, Engine Room Visual Arts)
  Craig Hildtich (Digital artist, Engine Room Visual Arts)
  Jay Frankenberger (Digital artist, Engine Room Visual Arts)
  Kenneth Busick (Digital artist, Engine Room Visual Arts)
  Cyrena Vladish-Addison (Engine Room controller, Engine Room Visual Arts)
  Shalena Oxley-Butler (Engine Room coord, Engine Room Visual Arts)
  Intralink Creative (Title graphics)
Make Up: Kate Biscoe (Dept head make-up artist)
  Gigi Williams (Key make-up artist)
  Elaine Offers (Make-up artist to Julianne Moore)
  Cydney Cornell (Dept head hair stylist)
  Marie Larkin (Key hair stylist)
  Kristin Berge (Key hair stylist)
  Michael S. Ward (Hairstylist)
  Linda Arnold (Hair stylist)
  Alan D'Angerio (Hair stylist to Julianne Moore)
Production Misc: Joseph Middleton (Casting)
  Middleton Casting (Casting)
  Tineka Becker (Casting assoc)
  Central Casting (Extras casting by)
  Wendy Treese (Extras casting assoc)
  Mariann Lee (Extras casting assoc)
  Robert Salerno (Unit prod mgr)
  Don Bachardy (Creative consultant)
  David Scearce (Creative consultant)
  Craig Ayers (Prod supv)
  Karen Golden (Scr supv)
  Mark Cross (Prod coord)
  Nick Rufca (Asst prod coord)
  Heather Longerbeam (Prod secy)
  Caroline Stephenson (Prod secy)
  Tim Shuler (Office prod asst)
  Shane McGonnigal (Office prod asst)
  Ryan McGonnigal (Office prod asst)
  Alexandra Rose Nourafchan (Asst to Tom Ford)
  David Roker (Asst to Chris Weitz)
  Brenda Vogel (Asst to Andrew Miano)
  Antonio Caetano Santos (Asst to Robert Salerno)
  John Jabaley (Loc mgr)
  Tristan Daoussis (Key asst loc mgr)
  Kent Matsuoka (Key asst loc mgr)
  Michael Glaser (Asst loc mgr)
  Ivan Siebel (Asst loc mgr)
  Elida Cerda (Set medic)
  Larry Wells (Const medic)
  Robin Michels (Const medic)
  Harry Zabounian (Transportation capt)
  John Dybdahl (Transportation co-captain)
  William Smallwood (Picture vehicle coord/Transportation co-captain)
  Jeffrey Honicky (Driver)
  William Cope (Driver)
  Robert Cope (Driver)
  Jason Messersmith (Driver)
  Cody Lies (Driver)
  Thomas J. Powers (Driver)
  Kirk D. Barton (Driver)
  Lee Jennings (Driver)
  Mark Dobkousky (Driver)
  Derik Pritchard (Driver)
  Mike Baird (Driver)
  Melissa M. LaFon (Driver)
  William P. LaFon (Driver)
  Clark Farrell (Driver)
  Michael Highfield (Driver)
  Josh M. Hauser (Driver)
  Jeremiah Hauser (Driver)
  Paul Vlachos (Driver)
  Rene Guy (Driver)
  Dal Fazzone (Driver)
  Noam Amram (Driver)
  Joe Baker (Driver)
  Byron Carter (Driver)
  Dan Conte (Driver)
  Jonathan Curtin (Driver)
  Ron Dyer (Driver)
  Kenny LaCross (Driver)
  Miguel Navarrete (Driver)
  Sergio L. Olvera (Driver)
  Michael Pierre (Driver)
  Edward Porras Jr. (Driver)
  Tony's Catering (Catering)
  Tony Kerum (Catering)
  Subhashan Withanage (Asst cook)
  Dinesh Fernando (Asst cook)
  Ivan Kerum (Asst cook)
  Hernan A. Hernandez (Craft service)
  H. Alex Hernandez (Asst craft service)
  Jorge Menjivar (Asst craft service)
  Jack Stern (Studio teacher)
  Jim Hartz (Studio teacher)
  Elizabeth Himelstein (Dialect coach)
  Michael Neipris (Marine coord)
  Mike George (Marine crew)
  Shaun Laird (Marine crew)
  Jake T. Hicks (Marine crew)
  James Mitchell-Clyde (Marine crew)
  Kevin Mills (Marine crew)
  Steve M. Solomon, Paws for Effect (Animal trainer)
  Guin Dill, Paws for Effect (Animal trainer)
  Mary Sunshine (Prod accountant)
  Jennifer L. Clark (1st asst accountant)
  Michael Miller (2d asst accountant)
  Virginia Keehne (Accounting clerk)
  Bob Weber (Post prod accountant)
  Meghan Mowery (Asst post prod accountant)
  Lisa Schiek (Public relations)
  Cori Galpern (Public relations)
  Whitney Bromberg Hawkings (Public relations)
  Tim Pedegana (Post prod supv)
  Zoë Bower (Post prod coord)
  Mr. Pool (Water tank provided by)
  Jackie Lee (VP feature sales, Company 3)
  DeWitt Stern Group Inc. (Prod insurance)
  Entertainment Partners (Payroll)
  Julie M. Philips (Prod attorney)
  Dora M. Komura, Gonzales and Harris Sherman Kaplan (Immigration)
  Richard Kopenhefer, McDermott, Will & Emer (Labor attorney)
  Act One Script Clearance (Clearances provided by)
  Christine Bergren (Mus legal and clearance services by)
  Lauren Shotwell (Mus legal and clearance services by)
Stand In: Jeremie Adkins (Stand-in)
  Bryan Macrina (Stand-in)
  Pat Statham (Stunt coord)
  Jeff Danoff (Stunts)
  Rick Marcus (Stunts)
  Rife Sibley (Stunts)
  Sean Taylor (Kenny body double)
Color Personnel: Company 3 (Digital intermediate by)
  Stefan Sonnenfeld (Co3 exec prod, Company 3)
  Annie Johnson (DI prod, Company 3)
  Stephen Nakamura (DI colorist, Company 3)
  James Eberle (On-line ed, Company 3)
  Sherry Price (Digital dirt removal, Company 3)
  Dan Goslee (DI asst, Company 3)
  Jerimiah Morey (DI asst, Company 3)
  J. Cody Baker (DI asst, Company 3)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Music: "Moon Over Manhattan," composed by Robert Etoll courtesy of Megatrax Music; "Scene D'Amour," composed by Bernard Herrmann; "Green Onions," written by Steve Cropper, Al Jackson, Jr., Booker T. Jones and Lewis Steinberg, performed by Booker T. & The MG's courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp by arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing.
Songs: "Baudelaire," written and performed by Serge Gainsbourg, courtesy of Mercury France under license from Universal Music Enterprises; "Cyber Cafe," written and performed by Norman Harris, courtesy of Manhattan Production Music; "Everyone Can See," written by Ken Morrison and Mark Reiman performed by Gail Pettis, courtesy of Crucial Music Corporation; "Ebben? Ne andro lontana' from 'La Wally,'" written by Alfredo Catalani, performed by Miriam Gauci, courtesy of Naxos by arrangement with Source/Q; "Stormy Weather," written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler, performed by Etta James, courtesy of Geffen Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises; "Blue Moon," written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, performed by Jo Stafford, courtesy of JSP Records.
Composer: Harold Arlen
  Alfredo Catalani
  Steve Cropper
  Robert Etoll
  Serge Gainsbourg
  Norman Harris
  Lorenz Hart
  Al Jackson, Jr.
  Booker T. Jones
  Ted Koehler
  Ken Morrison
  Richard Rodgers
  Lewis Steinberg
Source Text: Based on the novel A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood (New York, 1964).
Authors: Christopher Isherwood

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Fade to Black Productions, Inc. 0/0/2009 dd/mm/yyyy  

PCA NO: 45427
Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Digital in selected theatres
  col: deluxe, with b&w seq
  Lenses/Prints: Kodak Motion Picture Film

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Attempted suicide
  Death and dying
  Depression, Mental
  English in foreign countries
Subjects (Minor): Automobile accidents

Note: A Single Man opens with the credits over images of “George Falconer,” played by Colin Firth, drifting, underwater, nude, then struggling to the surface as the sound of a car crash is heard. These are images and sounds from George’s dream. The dream continues as George walks across snow to the car crash scene where Jim and one of their dogs lie dead. George lays on the ground and kisses Jim on the mouth. The opening credits feature the top four cast members and several above-the-line crew members listed before the title. Although the date of the events is listed onscreen as 30 Nov 1962, George twice hears a radio speech by President John F. Kennedy on the Cuban Missile Crisis. In actuality, Kennedy gave radio and television speeches regarding the situation in late Oct and early Nov 1962, but none at the end of Nov 1962. Flashback scenes of George and Jim's life together appear throughout A Single Man and George is heard sporadically in voiceover. Also heard throughout the film is the sound of George’s heartbeat. During scenes that have emotional significance for George, the onscreen color is amplified, which many film reviewers noted was distracting. The sequence where George explains his relationship with “Charley” (Julianne Moore) to “Jim” (Matthew Goode) is presented in black and white. An enormous poster on the side of a building dominates the scene where George speaks with “Carlos” (Jon Kortajarena). The poster depicts the upper half of the face of actress Janet Leigh as the main character in the 1960 Paramount production, Psycho , directed by Alfred Hitchcock (see below). The score, written by Abel Korzeniowski and Shigeru Umebayashi, features a distinctive theme that echoes the Psycho score written by Bernard Hermann. The DV review noted the period and mood similarities between A Single Man and the AMC produced television series Mad Men (2007-2009), also set in the early 1960s. The reviewer pointed out Charley's fashionable pink Sobranie of London “Cocktail” cigarettes, which were also used in the series, and the uncredited voice-over appearance of Mad Men 's star, John Hamm, as the voice of “Harold Ackerley.” A Single Man was filmed in and about Santa Monica, Pasadena and Los Angeles, as noted in closing credits.
       A Single Man marked the directorial debut of Tom Ford, a fashion designer who had successfully headed both Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent fashion houses in the 1990s. According to a 3 Dec 2009 NYT article, after leaving the fashion industry in 2004, Ford purchased the rights to the Isherwood novel in 2006 and decided to rewrite a script by David Scearce (who is credited onscreen as co-writer). In the article, Ford admitted to revising the script fifteen times in less than two years. Unable to secure financing from studios uneasy with the gay storyline, Ford financed the film personally. In the NYT article and a 6 Dec 2009 LAT piece, Ford revealed that he used several personal experiences in the film, including George’s admission to “Kenny” that he shaved his eyebrow off while under the influence of mescaline. Ford, who is openly gay, acknowledged that having George consider shooting himself inside a sleeping bag in order not to soil the wall and his careful laying out the suit in which he intends to be buried, were details taken from the suicide of a family member. In both articles, Ford states that he had always envisioned Firth in the role of George, but when the actor had other commitments, cast another actor in the role. When that actor departed due to scheduling conflicts, Firth, who had become available, took the role.
       A Single Man opens after George’s dream, with the opening line from the novel, spoken in voiceover by George: “Waking up begins with saying am and now .” The film differs from the “stream-of-consciousness” style novel in various ways, primarily in Ford and Scearce’s addition of having George contemplate suicide throughout the single day. In the novel Jim dies in a car accident while riding with a former girlfriend with whom he had a relationship similar to that of George and Charley, and George visits the ailing woman in the hospital. Although George’s age is never stated in the film, in the novel he is close to sixty. As shown in the film, George dies, unexpectedly, from heart failure at the end of the novel.
       A Single Man was selected by AFI as one of the ten Movies of the Year for 2009. Firth received the Best Actor award at the Venice Film Festival and an Academy Award nomination for Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. The film also received Golden Globe nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama (Firth), Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama (Moore) and Best Original Score. The SAG nominated Firth for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   29 Oct 2008.   
Daily Variety   16 Sep 2009.   
Daily Variety   10 Dec 2009.   
Hollywood Reporter   18 Sep 2009   p. 49.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Nov 2009.   
New York Times   3 Dec 2009.   
New York Times   11 Dec 2009.   
Los Angeles Times   30 Oct 2008.   
Los Angeles Times   6 Dec 2009.   
Time   7 Dec 2009.   

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.