A Single Man
Ah, Mr. Darcy, the "man without fault" who courted Jennifer Ehle's Elizabeth Bennet in the BBC's 1995 Pride and Prejudice. The role marked Firth as a gently seductive actor but one who often loses the leading lady to a name higher on the marquee. How lucky he was, then, to get the role of George, a teacher mourning the loss of his longtime lover in A Single Man. Firth infuses this sad gay fellow with warmth, delicacy and a desperation that is all the more powerful for being so subtly expressed. "This is a very personal story about a man's relationship with the world," Firth says. "He has a decision that he's made, to die, and life keeps trying to call him back." It's not just the role of a lifetime, well worthy of its Oscar nomination, but also a declaration that at 49, Firth is fully qualified for large, complex roles that he can play with force and nuance and, of course, without fault.