A Single Man

  • Directors: Tom Ford
  • Producers: Tom Ford, Andrew Miano, Robert Salerno, Chris Weitz
  • Writers: Tom Ford, David Scearce, Christopher Isherwood title A Single Man Book
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Ginnifer Goodwin, Nicholas Hoult

Set in Los Angeles on November 30, 1962, a month after the Cuban missile crisis, A Single Man is the story of George Falconer (Colin Firth), a middle-aged English college professor who has struggled to find meaning in his life since the car accident that killed his longtime partner, Jim (Matthew Goode), eight months earlier. Jim’s family disapproved of his relationship with George and thus refused George permission to attend the funeral.

Throughout the single day depicted in the film, and narrated from his point of view, George dwells on his past, shown in flashbacks, and his seemingly empty future, as he prepares for his planned suicide that evening. He buys bullets for his revolver, empties his safety deposit box in the bank, prepares letters for some friends, and one with some money for his cleaning woman, and arranges his life insurance policy, other important things such as keys, and the clothes he wants to be dressed in by the undertaker neatly in sight. Everyday things and encounters become special for him, realizing that for each it is the last time, and he is extra nice to people, as he is secretly saying goodbye.

George makes an appointment to have dinner with his close female friend Charley (Julianne Moore). He gives a lecture, after which his student Kenny Potter (Nicholas Hoult) starts a conversation with him, and becomes fixated on him as a kindred spirit. Later George has an unexpected encounter with Spanish male prostitute Carlos (Jon Kortajarena), whom he pays while declining his services. After his dinner with Charley he encounters Kenny again in a bar. They go skinny dipping and then return to George’s house and get very drunk. George passes out and wakes to find himself in bed, with Kenny on his couch. Kenny has discovered George’s planned suicide and taken away the gun. George finds it but decides not to kill himself. Having made peace with his grief, George suffers a heart attack and dies.

Nanny McPhee

  • Directors: Kirk Jones
  • Producers: Lindsay Doran, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner
  • Writers: Screenplay, Emma Thompson, Books, Christianna Brand
  • Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Angela Lansbury, Imelda Staunton, Kelly Macdonald, Thomas Sangster, Eliza Bennett, Jennifer Rae Daykin, Holly Gibbs

Taking place in 19th century England, widower and undertaker 41-year-old Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) has seven children: 12-year-old Simon (Thomas Sangster), 10-year-old Tora (Eliza Bennett), 9-year-old Lily (Jennifer Rae Daykin), 8-year-old Eric (Raphaël Coleman), 7-year-old Sebastian (Samuel Honywood ), 5-year-old Christianna (Holly Gibbs) and 1-year-old Aggie (Hebe Barnes and Zinnia Barnes). He loves his children very much, but spends little time with them, unable to handle raising them all on his own. The children have had a series of seventeen nannies, whom they systematically drive out; it is a point of pride for them to get rid of each nanny as fast as possible. They also terrorize the cook, Mrs. Blatherwick (Imelda Staunton) but are cared for and loved by Evangeline (Kelly Macdonald), the young scullery maid.

Cedric attempts to hire another nanny from the agency that sent the past seventeen nannies, but the agency refuses him, as the children have sent the past nannies away, terrorized. Desperate to find another nanny, Cedric heeds the advice of a mysterious voice from the house, which says, “the person you need is Nanny McPhee.” After a series of mysterious events, an unusual and hideous woman named Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) arrives at Brown home, introducing herself as a “government nanny”. With discipline and magic, she transforms the family’s lives. In the process, she herself transforms from ugly to beautiful. The children, led by Simon, attempt to play their tricks on her, but gradually start to respect her and ask her for advice. They change into responsible people, helping their hapless father in solving the family problems, and making Nanny McPhee less and less needed. (The storyline is, at this point, very similar to Mary Poppins).

Interestingly, not all of the lessons are for the children. In addition, the last one can vary depending on interpretation.

Dorian Gray

  • Directors: Oliver Parker
  • Producers: Barnaby Thompson
  • Writers: Toby Finlay
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Rebecca Hall, Ben Chaplin, Emilia Fox, Rachel Hurd Wood

When a naïve young Dorian (Ben Barnes) arrives in Victorian London, he is swept into a social whirlwind by the charismatic Lord Henry Wotton (Colin Firth), who introduces Dorian to the hedonistic pleasures of the city. Henry’s friend, society artist Basil Hallward (Ben Chaplin), paints a portrait of Dorian to capture the full power of his youthful beauty. When the portrait is unveiled, Dorian makes a flippant pledge: he would give anything to stay as he is in the picture — even his soul.

Dorian meets and falls in love with young budding actress Sibyl Vane (Rachel Hurd-Wood). After a few weeks, he proposes marriage to her, but after Henry tells Dorian that having children is “the beginning of the end”, Dorian and Sibyl argue and he leaves her; the next day he learns from her brother “Jim” (James) that she killed herself and that she was going to have Dorian’s child before she did. His initial grief disappears as Henry persuades him that all events are mere experiences and without consequence, and his hedonistic lifestyle worsens, distancing him from a concerned Basil. Dorian goes home to find the portrait of himself warped and twisted and realises that his pledge has come true; while the portrait ages he remains ever-youthful, while his sins show as physical defects on the canvas. The chaos of the picture of Dorian Gray starts, leading to him actually killing Basil and dumping the body in the Thames after Basil sees the portrait.

A few months later, Henry is shown attempting to convince his ex-wife to allow him to talk to Emily, one side of his face badly burned by the fire, and the now-youthful portrait of Dorian Gray kept in his attic.

The Accidental Husband

  • Directors: Griffin Dunne
  • Producers: Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd, Jason Blum
  • Writers: Mimi Hare, Clare Naylor, Bonnie Sikowitz
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Colin Firth, Isabella Rossellini, Sam Shepard

New York firefighter Patrick Sullivan (Morgan) had no idea his seemingly idyllic life was about to go up in smoke — especially as the unwitting, second-hand recipient of advice from famed love expert and radio host Dr. Emma Lloyd (Thurman). One day he is a happy-go-lucky guy looking forward to a life with his soon-to-be-bride. Then, his fiancée Sophia (Justina Machado) is seeking couples counseling on the radio from Dr. Lloyd. Lloyd questions Sophia’s concept of romantic love and advises her to break their engagement, which she swiftly does.

Patrick is so upset that when he hears that Emma is about to be married herself, he allows his young neighbour, an Indian computer whiz-kid to hack into public records and create a fake marriage between himself and Emma, because he wants to force a confrontation. Emma is told she cannot marry her perfect-gentleman fiancé, Richard (Firth), because she is already married. She has no choice but to confront Patrick, who decides to repeatedly lie to her about his intentions. In fact, after stringing her along with lie upon lie, he finds out that he is attracted to her, and makes a play for her romantically. He proceeds to inject himself into her life, causes her to have to lie herself, to her beloved fiancé. Emma is drawn to his immense charisma but tries to ignore it.

But both Patrick and Emma are miserable with their separate lives. One day before her wedding, Patrick calls her at the radio station and tells her that he loves her. She does not answer him. She confides in her father and asks his advice. He tells her that the decision is hers. At the next day, Emma and her guests arrive early to the church and are getting ready for the wedding. There, Richard tells her that he wants her to be happy and decides to let her marry the man she has fallen in love with. Richard had also heard the radio show the night before and recognized Patrick telling Emma of his love for her. Richard then walks away while Emma activates the sprinkler system with a burning paper. The sprinklers drench the guests who then leave the church to dry. During this time, Emma’s father calls the fire department where Patrick works and asks them to come to the church. When Patrick arrives there, they get married, and live happily ever after. The final scene shifts to a year later where it is shown that Emma is pregnant, and that she and Patrick are still very much in love.

Love Actually

  • Directors: Richard Curtis
  • Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Duncan Kenworthy
  • Writers: Richard Curtis
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, Rowan Atkinson, Laura Linney, Martine McCutcheon

The film begins with a voiceover from David (Hugh Grant) commenting that whenever he gets gloomy with the state of the world he thinks about the arrivals terminal at Heathrow Airport, and the pure uncomplicated love felt as friends and families welcome their arriving loved ones. David’s voiceover also relates that all the known messages left by the people who died on the 9/11 planes were messages of love and not hate. The film then tells the ‘love stories’ of many people, culminating in a final scene at the airport enacted to the tune of The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” that closes their stories. The film ends with a montage of anonymous persons greeting their arriving loved ones that slowly enlarges and fills the screen, eventually forming the shape of a heart.

With the help of his longtime manager Joe (Gregor Fisher), aging rock and roll legend Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) records a Christmas variation of The Troggs’ classic hit “Love Is All Around.” Despite his honest admission that it is a “festering turd of a record,” the singer promotes the release in the hope it will become the Christmas number one single. During his publicity tour, Billy repeatedly causes Joe grief by pulling stunts such as defacing a poster of rival musicians Blue with a speech bubble reading, “We’ve got little pricks.” He also promises to perform his song naked on television should it hit the top spot. Mack keeps his word—albeit while wearing boots and holding a strategically placed guitar. After briefly celebrating his victory at a party hosted by Sir Elton John, Billy unexpectedly arrives at Joe’s flat and explains that Christmas is a time to be with the people you love, and that he had just realized that “the people I love… is you”, despite simultaneously hitting Joe with insulting comments about his weight. He reminds Joe that “We have had a wonderful ride” touring around the world together over the years. He suggests that the two celebrate Christmas by getting drunk and watching porn. Billy and Joe’s story is the only one exploring platonic love, and the two characters are unrelated to any of the other characters in film, although a few of the other characters are shown watching Billy Mack on their TVs or listening to his song on the radio.

Rufus is a minor but significant character played by Rowan Atkinson. He is the Selfridges jewellery salesman whose obsessive attention to gift-wrapping nearly gets Harry caught buying Mia’s necklace, and later at the airport, his distraction of an attendant allows Sam to sneak through security and see Joanna before she goes back to America. In the original script, the character was revealed to be an angel, and the airport scene showed him disappearing as he walked through the crowd, but this aspect of the character was removed, although he does give Daniel a wink indicating he knows he is giving Sam cover to slip through. Richard Curtis says that with all the storylines already complicating the movie, “the idea of introducing another layer of supernatural beings” seemed over-the-top.[1]

A Christmas Carol

  • Directors: Robert Zemeckis
  • Producers: Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis
  • Writers: Screenplay, Robert Zemeckis, Story, Charles Dickens
  • Genres: Animation, Drama, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Cary Elwes, Colin Firth, Bob Hoskins, Robin Wright Penn

A Christmas Carol is a Victorian morality tale of an old and bitter miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who undergoes a profound experience of redemption over the course of one night. Mr. Scrooge is a financier/money-changer who has devoted his life to the accumulation of wealth. He holds anything other than money in contempt, including friendship, love and the Christmas season. But an encounter with the ghostly figure of Jacob Marley sets the stage for a mysterious and magical encounter with three phantasmic beings to help him realize the true magic of Christmas itself.

Pride and Prejudice

  • Directors: Simon Langton
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Andrew Davies
  • Genres: Romance, Drama
  • Actors: Jennifer Ehle, Colin Firth

Episode 1 – Mr Charles Bingley, a rich man from the north of England, settles down at Netherfield estate near Meryton village in Hertfordshire for the summer. Mrs Bennet, unlike her husband, is excited at the prospect of marrying off one of her five daughters (Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia) to the newcomer. Bingley takes an immediate liking to Jane at a local country-dance, while his best friend Mr Darcy, rumoured to be twice as rich, refuses to stand up with anyone including Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s poor impression of his character is confirmed at a later gathering at Lucas Lodge and she and Darcy verbally clash on the two nights she spends at Netherfield caring for the sick Jane.

Episode 2 – A sycophantic clergyman named Mr William Collins visits his cousins, the Bennets. He is the entailed heir of their home, Longbourn, and decides to marry Elizabeth to keep the property in the family. On a walk to Meryton village, they meet members of the newly arrived militia, including a Mr George Wickham. When Elizabeth witnesses Darcy’s resentment of Wickham, Wickham tells her how Darcy cheated him of his inheritance. Darcy surprises Elizabeth with a dance offer at a ball at Netherfield, which she grudgingly but politely accepts. Mr Collins proposes to Elizabeth the next day, but she resoundingly rejects him. While Mr and Mrs Bennet disagree about Elizabeth’s decision, her close friend Charlotte Lucas invites Mr Collins to stay at Lucas Lodge.

Episode 6 – After Lydia carelessly mentions Darcy’s involvement in her wedding, Mrs Gardiner enlightens Elizabeth how Darcy found the errant couple and paid for all the expenses. When the Bingleys return to Netherfield in the autumn, Darcy apologises to Bingley for intervening in his relationship with Jane and gives his blessing for the couple to wed. Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who has heard rumours of an engagement between Darcy and Elizabeth but wants him to marry her sickly daughter Anne, pays Elizabeth an unannounced visit. She insists that Elizabeth renounce Darcy, but Elizabeth does not rule out a future engagement. When Elizabeth thanks Darcy for his role in Lydia’s marriage, Lady Catherine’s story encourages Darcy to reconfirm his feelings for Elizabeth. Elizabeth admits the complete transformation of her feelings and agrees to an engagement, which takes her family by surprise. The series ends with a double wedding in the winter months: Jane and Bingley, and Elizabeth and Darcy.

Mamma Mia

  • Directors: Phyllida Lloyd
  • Producers: Judy Craymer, Benny Andersson, Phyllida Lloyd, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson
  • Writers: Catherine Johnson
  • Genres: Comedy, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Dominic Cooper, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski

On the fictional Greek island of Kalokairi, 20-year-old bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried) nervously posts three wedding invitations (“I Have a Dream”) to three different men. In response, from across the globe, they set off on their respective journeys.

Sophie’s two bridesmaids arrive and she shares with them a secret. Sophie has found her mother’s diary and learned she has three possible dads: New York-based Irish architect Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan), Swedish adventurer and writer Bill Andersson (Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd), and British banker Harry Bright (Colin Firth). She invited them without telling her mother, believing that after she spends time with them she will know who her father is (“Honey, Honey”).

Villa Donna owner Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep) is ecstatic to reunite with old friends and former Donna and The Dynamos bandmates, wisecracking author Rosie (Julie Walters) and wealthy multiple divorcee Tanya (Christine Baranski), and reveals her mystification at her daughter’s desire to get married. Donna explains her precarious finances to Rosie and Tanya (“Money, Money, Money”).

The three men arrive, and Sophie smuggles them to their quarters and explains that she, not her mother, sent the invitations. She begs the men to hide so Donna will have a surprise at the wedding: seeing the old friends of whom she “so often” favorably speaks. They overhear Donna working (humming “Fernando”) and the men swear to Sophie they won’t reveal her secret.

During the principal credits, Donna, Tanya, and Rosie reprise “Dancing Queen”, followed by “Waterloo” with the rest of the cast. Finally, Amanda Seyfried sings “Thank You for the Music” over the end credits.