From a humble background and with traditional values, Irish Chris Wilton is still struggling financially despite being a recently retired high ranked tennis pro. He has taken a job as a tennis instructor at an upscale London tennis club, although he knows there is a better life for him somewhere down the road. He is befriended by one of his students, wealthy Tom Hewett. Chris starts to date Tom's sister, Chloe Hewett, a girl-next-door type who is immediately attracted to Chris. Chloe quickly knows she wants to marry Chris, and through her businessman father, Alec Hewett, tries to help Chris and their future by getting him an executive job in Alec's company. In his life with the Hewetts, Chris begins to enjoy the finer things in life. Through it all however, Chris cannot help thinking about Nola Rice, a struggling American actress who he meets at the Hewett estate and who is Tom's unofficial fiancée. Nola is vivacious, and she knows the effect she has on men, including Chris. Unlike ... Written by
Actress Penelope Wilton plays Eleanor Hewett, Chloe Hewett's mother in the movie. So Penelope plays a Hewett in the movie, and her daughter becomes a Wilton when she marries Chris. See more »
In the scene in the Royal Opera House, the performance of La Traviata is, inexplicably, accompanied by piano rather than full orchestra. See more »
Christopher "Chris" Wilton:
The man who said "I'd rather be lucky than good" saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It's scary to think so much is out of one's control. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net, and for a split second, it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck, it goes forward, and you win. Or maybe it doesn't, and you lose.
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"I Don't Care if He's Great, I Just Hope He's Lucky..."
...and what a great stroke of luck it is to have sat through Woody Allen's latest, "Match Point." Fans of Woody could sense his comeback in the tragedy half of his last effort, "Melinda and Melinda." It was far more compelling than the comedy half, and the philosophical ideas it brought up were the best Woody Allen had given us in a long while. Here with "Match Point" he explores the notion of luck and gives us his best film since....well, since I don't know when. He proves here that when he leaves himself out of the cast, and changes locations (the transition from New York City to London is as flawless as it is invigorating), he can deliver the goods. This film, free of all the typical Allen shtick, and full of noirish twists and surprises, is every bit as good as Robert Altman's "The Player" or "Gosford Park," and like those two films, it's the best kind of return to form you could hope for from a past master.
Chris Wilton (played moderately well by Johnathan Rhys Myers, who comes across as a more handsome Joquin Phoenix) is a failed tennis pro from Ireland who gets a plum job at a snobbish country club in London where he meets up with Tom (an appropriately British Matthew Goode), woos his sister, Chloe (an adorable Emily Mortimer), and has an affair with Tom's flighty fiancée, a struggling American actress named Nola (a ravishing Scarlett Johansson). The film starts off like a more refined version of last year's tawdry affair, "Closer," with Allen exploring the love lives of semi-bored, over-educated filthy rich Brits who when not hopping in and out of each other's beds are hob-nobbing at the opera, the latest art exhibit, or lounging around their lavish estates reading and drinking. There's also a hint of "The Talented Mr. Ripley" in its exploration of the class system and Chris' obsession with infiltrating this exclusive and beguiling society. Thankfully, we're spared all of the weirdness of an atrocity like "Ripley," as Allen keeps it all very clean, sheen, clever and classy.
The film takes some dark turns and has some operatic overtures, spiced with some Dostoevsky references and plenty of pondering on luck. Allen here doesn't seem to be writing off the need for hard work completely, but to achieve a truly privileged life, where one can get away with just about anything, you better have a lot of luck.
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