Down 8,042 this week

Play (2001)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 499 users  
Reviews: 9 user

The land is filled with people in urns chattering at top speed, but only to themselves, not to one another. The focus goes to three people: a man, his mistress and his wife.



0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 1000 titles
created 04 Oct 2012
a list of 19 titles
created 23 Feb 2013
list image
a list of 8 titles
created 03 Mar 2013
a list of 88 titles
created 31 Jan 2014
a list of 16 titles
created 11 Jun 2014

Related Items

Search for "Play" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Play (2001)

Play (2001) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Play.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Animation | Short | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Rupert, a ten year old boy, falls hopelessly in love for the first time. When it all goes terribly wrong, he wishes never to experience heartache again. Turning to a book of magic, he invokes a spell to shield him from emotion forever.

Director: Kealan O'Rourke
Stars: Alan Rickman
The Song of Lunch (TV Movie 2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A London publisher recounts a lunchtime reunion with a former lover, in poetic monologue.

Director: Niall MacCormick
Stars: Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Andi Soric
Dust VII (2013)
Short | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Dust, starring Alan Rickman and Jodie Whittaker, is the short story of a man who follows a young girl and her mum home from school one day. He waits outside their house until nightfall ... See full summary »

Directors: Ben Ockrent, Jake Russell
Stars: Lola Albert, Alan Rickman, Jodie Whittaker
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Matthew Barnes is a young exec on the move up who finds himself a pawn in corporate in-fighting when he's sent to London to oversee a merger. He's to replace John Gissing; Gissing's gotten ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Binder
Stars: Mike Binder, Tim Briggs, Allan Corduner
Endgame (TV Movie 2000)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Hamm is blind and unable to stand; Clov, his servant, is unable to sit; Nagg and Nell are his father and mother, who are legless and live in dustbins. Together they live in a room with two windows, but there may be nothing at all outside.

Director: Conor McPherson
Stars: Michael Gambon, David Thewlis, Jean Anderson
Mesmer (1994)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A biography of the eighteenth century Viennese physician, Franz Anton Mesmer, who used unorthodox healing practices based on his theory of "animal magnetism."

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Stars: Donal Donnelly, David Burke, Peter Dvorsky
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Two tramps wait for a man named Godot, but instead meet a pompous man and his stooped-over slave.

Director: Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Stars: Barry McGovern, Johnny Murphy, Alan Stanford
Snow Cake (2006)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A drama focused on the friendship between a high-functioning autistic woman and a man who is traumatized after a fatal car accident.

Director: Marc Evans
Stars: Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver, Carrie-Anne Moss
Krapp's Last Tape (TV Movie 2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

An old man listens to a tape of himself as a 39 year old.

Director: Atom Egoyan
Stars: John Hurt
Animation | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Director: Helen Piercy
Stars: Alan Rickman
Play (2005)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A couple search for love but never quite seem to meet.

Director: Alicia Scherson
Stars: Viviana Herrera, Andres Ulloa, Aline Küppenheim
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An array of glacially paced performances of theater artists and actors of all genres and nationalities both well-known and under-recognized.

Directors: David Michalek, Paul Warner
Stars: William H. Macy, Holly Hunter, Liev Schreiber


Complete credited cast:


The land is filled with people in urns chattering at top speed, but only to themselves, not to one another. The focus goes to three people: a man, his mistress and his wife.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Short | Fantasy



Official Sites:



Release Date:

14 July 2001 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Beckett: Näytelmä  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


Version of Spil (1974) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Minghella plays with 'Play'.
26 March 2001 | by (dublin, ireland) – See all my reviews

'Play' is one of Beckett's most delightful confections, a farce, a vision of hell, a discordant fugue, a logorrheic din: as much a parody of Sartre's 'Huis Clos' as Sunday supplement suburban entanglements.

Three heads - a man, wife, and mistress - look out from urns, and relate the story of the man's affair and the wife's reaction to it, in a rhythmic, overlapping gabble, repeated twice to convey the idea of eternity. These lives, brought to crisis point by a very physical interruption - adultery -are condemned to a disembodied, inhuman, mechanical repetition of a previous existence.

Here, Beckett's interest in memory is at its most alienated - recalling the past is not an act of retrieval, an attempt to piece fragments of a shattered identity as in, for example 'Krapp's Last Tape'. It is a punishment, devoid of poetry, oppressively banal. Worse, the reminiscences are prompted by an unseen lighting man, like a Gestapo interrogator, switching speedily between characters, creating the play's rhythm, forcing them into 'life'. Much as they might like to, they cannot hide, they are at this man's mercy.

You can imagine the effect in the theatre: not only is the mundanity of everyday life shown to be mechanical, barren, dead, with the urns and the repetition not a metaphor for hell or limbo, but for life; but the way these insignificant lives are interrogated, as by the Gestapo, or God, or their own conscience, or paralysed desires, or us, or SOMEBODY, forces us to admit that we don't live very well.

Minghella, unlike his 'Beckett on film' collaborators, eschews over-fidelity. He keeps Beckett's words, but is radically unfaithful (a compliment!) to the play, liberated from theatrical constraints. His bombardment of montage; his intrusive use of colour, sound, camera angles; his turning Beckett's lighting man into the camera, with its clicks and whirrs and zooms; all fundamentally destroy Beckett's theatrical space.

A condition where hell mirrors suburban life, where immobility , darkness, emptiness, inertia are the tenets, is given an incongruous energy, a visual excitement. Beckett's verbal and lighting rhythms are transformed into those of editing. Life in hell no longer seems that dull and repetitive; neither, by extension, do our own lives. The intrusive, oppressive interrogation of the light becomes the more distanced voyeurism of the camera - it is not this latter that breaks the space but the editing.

This is an excellent example of an artist freeing himself from constraints, undermining his text, while remaining superficially faithful. Surely the appropriate response to 'Play' is to play. A very brave adaptation.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
where can i see this? Aragorn--KingofGondor
Is this the one with the people in the pots? Lady_Madonna
a beautiful vision of nuptial hell theshizznit-1
Discuss Play (2001) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: