"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."
This thesis was illustrated with a static shot of a net, across which a tennis ball is hit back and forth by two unseen players. Suddenly the ball bounces off the top of the net and is frame-frozen before it lands either forward or backward. Near the end of the film, this metaphor reappears in a newly urgent and intricately ironic context, affecting the fate—and, by extension, the luck—of the film’s protagonist. That's when I thought I am watching a cunningly designed and a best serious movie from Woody Allen. In Match Point, Allen's fans will have difficulty recognizing the iconic filmmaker's fingerprints.
PlotThe movie follows the social climb and romantic tribulations of an Irish tennis pro-turned-instructor who comes into the inner circle of a fabulously wealthy English family. Through his work at a posh London tennis club, Chris (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) meets Tom (Matthew Goode), happily rich and blithe, who takes a liking to him. Tom brings Chris to his parents' box at the opera, where Chris meets Tom's sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer). Chloe falls in love with Chris almost immediately.
Everything is going smoothly until he meets Nola (Scarlett Johansson), who is engaged to Chloe's brother, Tom. Even as he woos Chloe with the intention of marrying her, he becomes obsessed with Nola. Chris's father-in law, a business tycoon names him the vice president and wedding plans are being made. If he leaves Chloe, it’s goodbye to his cushy life as the boss’ son-in-law. So there’s ambition, class, sex and money. Several things could go wrong.
The story is simple. But, the pleasure is derived from the way, this drama unfolds unexpectedly from the characters rather than imposing itself on them.
AnalysisAs Chris the tennis pro, Rhys Meyers is exceptional: perfectly under control. He's a flawed, but not evil, individual. And he has a genuine, almost pathological need to be liked. Meyers shows no difficulty handling the demands of this complex character. Emily Mortimer and Scarlett Johansson show different faces of womankind. Whether playing tennis with Chris or peeking at him during an opera, Mortimer looks softly vulnerable and girlish yet cheered by the confidence of the wealth. She takes her husband's denial of an affair at face value and whose primary goal in marriage is to give her parents grandchildren.
Johansson, on the other hand, is simultaneously self-sufficient and needy. The insecure thing works for her, most of the movie, but when her character goes into psycho mode, Johansson is a bit out of her comfort zone. Though, it doesn't ruin the movie.
Through 'Match Point' we understand why Allen is considered a master. Woody Allen is better know for his comedies, obviously, but he's done quite a few dramas over the years, like "Crimes and Misdemeanors." I like almost all Woody Allen movies: either when he's in them or not in them. But aside from his comedies, Allen is at his very best when he's being slyly funny and deadly serious at the same time. The movie starts off slowly, but the second hour flies by, and it features one of the best endings Allen has written. Of all the Oscar nominated Woody Allen has written and directed, he said "Match Point" as his favorite movie.
Match Point is more than a good thriller. It's also really, really funny. Part of it is comedy, part of it is just the absurdity of the situation Chris finds himself in. Sure, jealous lovers have been turned into films before, but rarely this memorably. The movie also examines the true nature of love, especially the destructive forbidden variety.
It is definitely an engrossing and thought-provoking movie that even Woody haters might enjoy. One of the main themes of the movie is luck and movies like 'Match Point' are good luck for movie fans.
Match Point - Imdb