Match Point

 
Directed by: Woody Allen
Written by:Woody Allen
Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer, Brian Cox, Matthew Goode, Penelope Wilton, James Nesbitt, Ewen Bremner
Released: March 2, 2006
Grade: A

Chris Wilton (Meyers) is a talented tennis player who tried by the professional circuit but couldn’t match it with the world’s best.  He retired a young age, moved to London and took a position as a tennis coach at an exclusive club.

Through the club, Chris becomes friends with the wealthy Hewett family.  Alec (Cox) and Eleanor (Wilton) live in a lavish mansion on a large English estate.  Their daughter Chloe (Mortimer) is looking for a suitor and wants desperately to have children.

Chris quickly becomes attracted to their lifestyle as thinks Chloe is “sweet”.  He begins a courtship of which Chloe is more than willing.  The fact that her dad is prepared to offer him a steady job at his financial firm makes the possibility of marriage all the more tempting.

There is one catch.  Chloe’s brother, Tom (Goode), is engaged to an aspiring American actress named Nola (Johansson).  Chris is completely smitten with Nola and can’t keep these feelings hidden.  He looks for any excuse to spend time with her and Nola is happy to play along.  It’s risky business.

My overview has been kept brief because there are important twists to the story which shouldn’t be spoiled.  It’s a rich story, filled with dislikeable self-absorbed characters.  Judging from a few of the disappointed responses at my screening, there are some who won’t enjoy it.  Those expecting a light-hearted romantic comedy filled with loveable people will be sorely disappointed.

I love the darkness to the story and it’s no wonder that critics are calling it the best Woody Allen movie in years.  The subject matter is a departure from his previous works but Allen’s distinctive style can still be found throughout the film.  With its simple opening titles, ancient soundtrack and subtle messages, Match Point will be appreciated by all fans of this great filmmaker.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Bend It Like Beckham) and Scarlett Johansson (Lost In Translation) deliver two wonderful performances.  You wouldn’t even think there was a script when you see how simply and spontaneously they deliver their dialogue.

At the start of the film, Chris tell us that “a man who said I’d rather be lucky than good, saw deeply into life.”  When you see what follows, you’ll understand that they are prophetic words indeed.