Movie Club Weekly – American Film Institute


September 27, 2020

A SINGLE MAN

(2009)

 

A SINGLE MAN, a beautiful meditation on love, grief and mortality, stars Colin Firth as a gay man struggling with the recent loss of his partner over the course of a single day. The film was honored with an AFI Award in 2009 – recognizing it as one of the 10 outstanding films deemed culturally and artistically representative of the year’s most significant achievements in the art of the moving image.

Did you know?

FROM THE AFI ARCHIVE

A SINGLE MAN had its U.S. premiere at the 2009 AFI FEST. Since 1987, AFI has celebrated the art of the moving picture with AFI FEST, bringing films new and classic, global and domestic, to audiences. Going virtual for the first time ever, the 2020 AFI FEST begins on October 15, 2020. Go to Fest.AFI.com for more information.

A SINGLE MAN had its U.S. premiere at the 2009 AFI FEST. Since 1987, AFI has celebrated the art of the moving picture with AFI FEST, bringing films new and classic, global and domestic, to audiences. Going virtual for the first time ever, the 2020 AFI FEST begins on October 15, 2020. Go to Fest.AFI.com for more information.

A SINGLE MAN marked many firsts for fashion designer Tom Ford; it was the first motion picture he ever wrote, directed and produced.

Writer/director Tom Ford secured financing to make A SINGLE MAN from two large investors, and then lost it when the market crashed. He then decided to finance the entire film, which had a$7 million budget, himself.

According to writer/director Tom Ford, he always envisioned Colin Firth in the role of George Falconer, but Firth originally declined the role due to other commitments. Ford cast another actor in the role, but the actor dropped out due to a scheduling conflict – which allowed Firth, who had since become available, to step into the role.

According to writer/director Tom Ford, he used several personal experiences in the film – including George’s admission that he shaved his eyebrow off while under the influence of mescaline.

Novelist Christopher Isherwood based the character of Charley, played by Julianne Moore in the film, on Iris Tree, a bohemian English poet, actress and artists’ model. Isherwood didn’t want Tree to know, so he dramatically changed her in the book. He revealed this all to director Tom Ford after he had made her more glamorous in the film, which ironically was closer to the origins of the character.

George’s mid-century modern home in A SINGLE MAN is the J.W. Schaffner House located in Glendale, CA. The house was constructed in 1949 and designed by architect John Lautner. As of 2016, this unique house has been included within the National Register of Historic Places.

Colin Firth received an Academy Award® nomination for his portrayal of George Falconer in A SINGLE MAN. The Oscar® nomination was the first of Firth’s career. The following year he would go on to win the award for portraying King George VI in THE KING’S SPEECH.

The movie doesn’t end at the credits. Engage with your family, friends and others like you who love the movies. Check out the AFI Movie Club Discussion Questions for this movie and post your responses in the comment section!

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