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Overall Rating

Awesome: 29.35%
Worth A Look51.09%
Average: 11.96%
Pretty Bad: 5.43%
Total Crap: 2.17%

9 reviews, 38 user ratings

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Match Point
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by EricDSnider

"Let's just be glad Allen didn't cast himself as Scarlett Johansson's lover."
4 stars

"Everybody's afraid to admit what a big part luck plays in life," says Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) in Woody Allen's delicious new drama "Match Point." For a tennis player like Chris, luck is pivotal. Sometimes it's all that determines whether the ball falls on your side of the net or your opponent's. Sometimes it's how you get a plum job giving tennis lessons at a snooty London country club. Why, with luck on your side, you can do just about anything.

Chris, a good but not brilliant player, gives up professional tennis to work at the country club, where one of his students is Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode), son of a local business tycoon. Both in their mid-20s and sharing a common interest in opera -- opera will provide an undercurrent of commentary throughout the film -- Tom and Chris become friends off the court, too.

Despite the appearance so far that at least one of the men is gay, such is not the case. Tom Hewett is engaged to Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson), an American girl in London trying to make it as an actress, whom his imperious mother (Penelope Wilton) doesn't approve of. And Chris is soon dating Tom's sister, the refined Chloe (Emily Mortimer).

The Hewett family patriarch, Alec (Brian Cox), who runs a corporation of some kind, is delighted to have Chris as a potential member of the family. He admires how the lad has come from a hardscrabble existence and fought his way to the top.

What he doesn't know, nor anyone else, is that while Chris is dating Chloe, he is strongly drawn to Nola -- yes, the fiancee of his best friend. There is an incident between them. Later, when the way is somewhat more clear for them to be together, a relationship develops. But Chris is trapped between her and another woman, and he can no longer rely on luck to get out of it. He must take action.

Woody Allen is best known for his comedies, but his dramas have earned him nearly as much critical praise. At this point, when his last few comedies have been weak, a solid drama seems the way to go. And what a change it is from his usual fare! The long takes and elegantly simple shot compositions remind us that it's a Woody Allen movie, but the content, while not totally without precedent (see "Crimes and Misdemeanors," in particular), is certainly not typical.

Significantly, this is Allen's first movie to be shot entirely outside the United States, and one of only a few not set in New York City. You can see him experimenting with what London has to offer, working in a shot of Big Ben here, the Houses of Parliament there. But more importantly, London offers fresh subject matter, particularly in the divide between the haves and the have-nots. We have a class system in America too, of course, but it's not nearly as pronounced, nor is crossing between classes nearly as big a deal as it is among the London upper crust.

Scarlett Johansson's performance as Nola, a woman increasingly on the verge of desperation and craziness, is remarkable, especially considering her age (she just turned 21). There's also something to be said for Jonathan Rhys Meyers, the Irish actor who has barely elicited notice before but who is alarmingly in control as the unflappable, methodical Chris Wilton. The actor manipulates the film as well as the character manipulates people: precisely, and almost without trying.

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originally posted: 12/28/05 16:54:57
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User Comments

6/08/19 Anne Yuck; scenic London gave it the 2 stars 2 stars
11/10/15 David H. A very sexy Hitchcockian throwback. 5 stars
8/14/15 Langano Very good. 4 stars
8/09/10 Monday Morning A better Hitchcock movie than any Hitchcock movie. 5 stars
11/23/08 Samantha Pruitt very effective, keeps you on the edge of your seat, great acting! 5 stars
10/31/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 4 stars
11/16/07 Luisa Great Movie! Suspenseful...erotic... 4 stars
5/15/07 David Pollastrini Scarlett Looks hot in this! 3 stars
1/24/07 Christopher Best movie of 2005, Allen at his best. Loved every minute of this classic. Watch it. 5 stars
9/16/06 Grets A fine film with Scarlett gorgeous but ending somewhat lazy 4 stars
6/04/06 Indrid Cold Given the generic plot, it's about as good as it could be. Nothing to write home about. 4 stars
6/02/06 Phil M. Aficionado So-so. Well made and acted. But it left me cold and I don't care enough to ponder why. 3 stars
5/09/06 Monday Morning Great tension and surprising twists; but it could have been tightened up for sake of pace. 4 stars
5/08/06 Josephine i really liked this movie, it was something different not your regular love affair 5 stars
4/23/06 Mase Slow thriller, unlikable characters you just don't care about. Expected more, sorry. 3 stars
4/22/06 margotkidding Overhyped. Well executed, but none of the characters is recognizably human. 3 stars
4/04/06 Jenny Tullwartz The role ScarletJohansen was born for -- a botch who gets shit --uh, a bitch who gets shot. 3 stars
3/07/06 john bale Woody back in form - albeit with Hitchcock overtones. 4 stars
2/28/06 sbpat21 brilliant; a masterpiece 5 stars
2/25/06 PAG Most underrated move of 2005. Great movie. 5 stars
2/23/06 Koitus GREAT movie! Finally, a "movie for ADULTS." Scarlett beautiful as ever. 5 stars
2/18/06 jcjss so fine, clever, neat, fun, rascal, hot, smart, visually fine, edtied great, acting wow 5 stars
2/07/06 Elizabeth S A terrific role for the always excellent Jonathan Rhys Meyers! 4 stars
1/25/06 Mike V Best Woody Allen Movie in years 4 stars
1/23/06 astrotart I thought I saw this already on Lifetime? 2 stars
1/23/06 Andrew Phillips It's the director who tries to get away with murder. 2 stars
1/21/06 Ole Man Bourbon Crap. A chore. You banged Sun Yi, get over it, we're sick of hearing about it. 2 stars
1/19/06 karen and liz lil romeo is so sexy 5 stars
1/18/06 marty derivative, shaggy dog story 2 stars
1/10/06 John an extremly tense and well put together thriller - impressive 5 stars
1/09/06 C. Hilton Lousy - no redeeming value - 1 stars
1/09/06 Gil Carlson Great film, has depth and movement. Makes you think afterwards. 5 stars
12/30/05 Jim The Movie Freak Welcome back Woody. It only took you 20 years! 5 stars
12/29/05 simolife24 cinema 4 stars
12/29/05 Bruce Bethany A masterpiece Hitchcock might envy. 5 stars
12/20/05 Ray Superb 5 stars
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  28-Dec-2005 (R)
  DVD: 25-Apr-2006

  06-Jan-2006 (12A)


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