From a humble background and with traditional values, Irish Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) 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 (Matthew Goode). Chris starts to date Tom's sister, Chloe Hewett (Emily Mortimer), 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 (Brian Cox), 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 (Scarlett Johansson), a struggling American actress who he meets at the Hewett estate and who is Tom's unofficial ...Written by
The haunting recording used several times in the soundtrack, including over the opening and closing credits, is the Enrico Caruso 78 rpm of "Una furtiva lagrima" ("A furtive tear"), from Gaetano Donizetti's opera "L'Elisir d'Amore" ("The Elixir of Love"). Caruso's recording of another beloved aria, "Mi par d'udir ancora" from Bizet's opera "The Pearl Fishers," is also heard several times throughout the movie. See more »
When Tom and Nola play chess, the amount of wine in Nola's glass changes between shots. 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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Clever, polished, stunner with a lot to say about morality and fidelity
Match Point just joined Brokeback Mountain and Cinderella Man in the top three films for me this year. Like Brokeback Mountain, however, it is almost impossible to write a reasonably intelligent review without writing a spoiler.
I have been a hot and cold Woody Allen watcher, but was only a fan during his comedic phase. So, despite hearing from a few reliable sources that this is Woody's masterpiece, I was skeptical and went in with few expectations. I am glad. Approaching the movie this way allowed it to creep up on me.
The NYC Jewish dialog is gone. The quirky sense of humor is nowhere to be found. the hypersensitivity is missing. Where's Woody? Well, he's in London, but the place and time, despite the opinions of some critics, are largely irrelevant in this film.
There is only one line in this film that indicates its origin - it has something to do with 'intertwined neuroses' and nearly made me laugh.
The first 3/4ths of this film is almost completely taken up with character development, but also contains all of the basics of the inexorable plot that truly unfolds near the end. The characters are all quite likable, and, if you're like me, you will yearn for a happy ending. Watch out! - you've just been hooked and Woody's about to reel you in!
Match Point draws its audience in quietly and slowly at first, defining its territory as a smart, hip, and sophisticated character study early on (in no way unexpected for Mr. Allen), but then it takes an irreversibly sinister turn as one man threatens to bring everybody we have grown to love and respect down with him.
The performances and cinematography in this film are all-around the best I've seen this year. Allen uses a lot of very close-in face shots, and his cast handles it with ease, performing their parts with accuracy and no lack of passion. Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Emily Mortimer, and Scarlett Johanssen are all excellent, and the rest of the cast lends excellent support. I found no fault in the pace or the plot - this is easily Woody's most plot-heavy film, and you can tell that he had a great time putting it together.
The story line of Match Point is powerful, disturbing, and exceedingly clever. Philosophical folks will likely want to talk about it afterward. Some will find it frustrating and others will find it pretentious. Still others will point to Woody's own life and claim that this film is some form of perverse confession. Well, from my perspective, it is simply damn good story-telling.
Highly recommended for adult audiences.
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