Firth's portrayal of a man repressing his grief while being unable to repress his instinct for love and for life is excellent and moving, while Ford's balancing of depth and surface is precarious but ultimately winning.
Dave Calhoun, Time Out, 2010-02-16
Ford's eye for period detail is exact; brief cutaways, incisive dialogue, and charged glances telegraph the cold-war paranoia and sexual alienation of the early 60s.
Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader, 2010-01-15
A Single Man still stands as a vivid portrait of life behind a veil, and Firth certainly delivers one of the best performances of the year.
Tom Long, Detroit News, 2010-01-15
His first time out, Ford has made one of the best films of the year.
Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel, 2010-01-13
In this beautifully tailored drama, content and style have as vital a relationship as George and Jim did. The one would be lost without the other.
Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post, 2009-12-28
One of the year's more satisfying films.
Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, 2009-12-26
Firth plays a drowning man who can't yell for help, and it's an awful thing to see.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe, 2009-12-25
It is as gorgeous as you would expect, and surprisingly large-hearted.
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2009-12-25
How fitting that Firth should carry A Single Man, a movie of quiet but potent emotional power, perfectly suited to his singular gifts.
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 2009-12-25
Despite its downbeat theme, A Single Man is ultimately optimistic about the human capability to gradually make peace with seemingly insurmountable pain and tragedy.
Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald, 2009-12-25
What's remarkable is how Firth, with the smallest of gesture or nuance, lets us see this man's heartbreak without ever letting it burst through his carefully controlled surface.
Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times, 2009-12-24
As Ford's first film, this story, based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood, must have had special meaning.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 2009-12-24
Just about every sequence and flourish and detail in Ford's film feels and looks right. It is primarily Firth's triumph. But it is not a solitary one.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, 2009-12-23
It's a dirgelike odyssey sparked by Julianne Moore's overheated turn as George's best friend -- a welcome respite from Firth's clenched emoting.
Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor, 2009-12-18
This is a wonderful movie.
A.O. Scott, At the Movies, 2009-12-14
Two characters trying and failing to drown their hopes and regrets, and two strong actors refusing to be tight-laced by a director's exercise in style: here is a mood piece looking for a fight.
Anthony Lane, New Yorker, 2009-12-14
It's not a particular political bent that makes you fall for George. It's Firth. This is an unaffected, sincere and very subtle performance, the best of his career...
Mary F. Pols, MSN Movies, 2009-12-11