Match Point (2005)

matchpoint_2005_poster
Match Point (2005)
  • Time: 124 min
  • Genre: Drama | Romance
  • Director: Woody Allen
  • Cast: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer, Brian Cox

Storyline:

Tennis pro Chris Wilton takes a job as a tennis instructor and hits it off immediately with one of his students, wealthy young Tom Hewitt. Tom introduces Chris to his family and Chris falls quickly into a romance with Tom’s sister Chloe. But despite the growing certainty that Chris and Chloe will marry, and the enormous professional and financial advantages that come Chris’s way through his relationship with the delighted Hewitt family, Chris becomes increasingly intrigued and eventually romantically involved with Tom’s fiancée, Nola Rice, a struggling American actress. Their passionate trysts leave Chris in danger of losing the wealth and position he has now come to enjoy. The only solution to the dilemma seems unthinkable…

2 reviews

  • After watching my first Woody Allen movie a few weeks ago, Midnight in Paris, I decided see more about what he had to offer. My mother highly recommended Sleeper, but I decided to start with some of Allen’s more modern work, and along came Match Point.

    This is one of those few movies that leaves you fully engaged the entire time you’re watching, everything flowed so naturally until I found myself gasping and my heart pounding as the credits began rolling. The characters were well suited for their roles, and the acting was all suburb. I did not feel that anything was left out, or that any line was not absolutely relevant to the story.

    Jonathan Meyers was highly inciting and sophisticated in his role (as Chris Wilton), and the way his character battled between love and lust was a true showmanship of his acting skills, as well as Allen’s amazing ability to capture genuine human emotions. I was recollected with all the feelings and justifications I’ve put myself through while pursuing relationships of love and ones of lust, and especially the conflicts of both at the same time as you can see with Meyers’ character.

    Scarlett Johansson brought her best performance I’ve yet to seen, she brings on the sex appeal without being slutty about it… and I have to admit I have a new found lust for her thanks to this film. She plays the role of the incredibly hot, but yet not so successful woman who every man wishes to sleep with… yet is torn by the fact that she will likely not be a suitable long term spouse. It’s absolutely shocking how well Johansson was able to capture that persona since she’s been so highly successful for most of her life.

    The whole twist with the moral of the movie, “luck,” as well as the epic battles between love and lust, how Christ Wilton handled his dilemma, all the character’s masterful roles, and Woody Allen’s exceptional capture of human emotion makes this movie the absolute best drama/romance movie I’ve seen in a very long time, if not ever.

  • The first of his ‘unofficial’ London trilogy, Woody Allen’s Match Point is later followed by Scoop (2006) and Cassandra’s Dream (2007), both of which are unrelated to Match Point or to one another other than that they are set in Britain’s capital.

    Critically-acclaimed and considered to be the director’s best in a long while, Match Point does not feel like a traditional Allen picture (e.g. the use of British accents, and the lack of the director’s ‘voice’). Gone also are the witty, neurotic lines of humor and its tragicomic characters.

    The 1970s and 1980s have seen the Oscar-winning writer-director make one excellent film after another. But a 1990s and early 2000s ‘slump’ sees him make only an occasional decent picture amid average ones.

    Match Point is the result of the American filmmaking legend looking into the mirror and realizing a change of formula is essential to keep up with the times. Allen reinvents himself in a surprisingly assured take on the low-key crime-thriller genre camouflaged by a dominant romantic drama that deals with marriage, extramarital affairs, love and lust.

    The film consists of three principal characters: Chris, Chloe, and Nola. Chris, a hardworking but poor tennis instructor, marries Chloe and is set up for life because his father-in-law is wealthy and has given him a key corporate position in his company.

    However, Chris’ true passion lies with Nola, his brother-in-law’s sensuous and insecure fiancée who is struggling as an actress. As Chris gets deeper into his affair with Nola, the latter becomes unpredictable and overpowering, and later becomes a source of tension and frustration for Chris who turns increasingly paranoid to the thought of being exposed.

    Match Point features sharp analytical writing which conveys very realistically the emotional and psychological states of mind of each major character, especially that of Chris and Nola. The most affecting display comes from Scarlett Johansson whose tortured performance as Nola earns her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

    At the beginning, Allen theorizes that when the tennis ball hits the top of the net, with a bit of luck it will drop on your opponent’s side and you win. A similar scenario is further explored during the final quarter of the film where luck plays a huge role in determining the fates of people.

    In an unexpected (and chilling) turn of events near the finale, Allen shows us his skill in misdirection. Up to that point, we are led to believe that we know how the film is going to end, but the old master still has some tricks up his sleeves. His near-brilliant sleigh of hand elevates Match Point to something more than just a decent drama.

    There are some situational flaws though, which on hindsight could have embarrassed Allen because if the viewer is discerning enough, he or she could see that there are loopholes in the execution of that misdirection sequence. Fortunately for Allen, the ball lands away from him.

    GRADE: B+ (8/10 or 3.5 stars)
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