Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

A Single Man

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Mature drama about loss is visually striking but hollow.

Movie R 2009 99 minutes
A Single Man Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

Promising directorial debut

May contain some spoilers. Its not a great movie but I think its good and more than just nice to look at. Colin Firth gives a great performance which alone is worth seeing this film for. Although not all of Ford's visual techniques work he shows a lot of promise for a first time director, I'm interested to see what he does next. In terms of the the things that typically earn a film an R rating, sex, nudity, violence, there is nothing here that has not been featured in a PG-13 movie. There's nudity but not in a sexual context, there's only a little kissing and one somewhat disturbing shot of a dead body. I guess what earns the film its R rating is the theme of suicide and some drug references that parents with teens may be concerned about. I rate this films as iffy for 15 and above.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (4 ):

It's no surprise that Tom Ford, the visionary behind the magnificently tailored Gucci line, has fashioned a stunning film. Every scene is elegantly framed, lit, and hued; every character is sophisticatedly turned out. In this way, A SINGLE MAN is a singular feat, easily one of the handsomest movies made in 2009. But though he displays a sure hand as director, Ford's approach to the material rests a bit too heavily on the visual and too gently on the emotional -- surprising, considering that the film is about a man deeply in mourning. Somehow it all comes off a bit clinically -- life here is too beautifully tragic. You wonders what kind of heft the story would have carried had it not been pintucked so carefully.

That said, Firth is remarkable as a man in love but lost. His restrained-but-obvious grief rescues the movie somewhat from its too-pretty perch. Nobody does "damaged hysteria" better than Moore, but it's too reminiscent of her other roles (Boogie Nights, for instance), which makes it less potent. It's clear that Ford has respect for his actors' gifts, but the ending isn't credible, and the storytelling is oddly removed and stripped of authentic melancholy.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: December 11, 2009
  • On DVD or streaming: July 6, 2010
  • Cast: Colin Firth , Julianne Moore , Nicholas Hoult
  • Director: Tom Ford
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Weinstein Co.
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 99 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: some disturbing images and nudity/sexual content
  • Last updated: June 20, 2023

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate