Based on the Christopher Isherwood novel, "A Single Man" depicts a gay man named George (Colin Firth), an English professor living in California who has lost the will to live following the death by car accident of his younger lover (Matthew Goode).
The story is set in a single day during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and in his classroom George speaks of the power of fear. During that period, fear explained why George had to be careful about expressing the grief that consumes him. Flashbacks depict his idyllic relationship with his lover, while nightmares express the shock of his loss. Whether he can still connect with another person is tested in encounters with a young wanderer from Spain who affects a James Dean image (Jon Kortajarena); a former lover from his native London and boozing partner, Charley (Julianne Moore), who regrets the fact that George is not a straight man, and Kenny, a student (Nicholas Hoult), who pursues him.
Nominated for best actor, Colin Firth turns in a performance combining tremendous subtlety and expressiveness. George struggles between his suicidal impulses and the moments of clarity that, however fleeting, give life meaning and beauty. Ultimately, though, we're reminded that the resolution of inner conflicts is not always within our control.