Adam’s Film Friday – A Review of Match Point

Match Point is a lover’s drama set in London, written and directed by Woody Allen.  This Academy Award nominated film begs the viewer to think about how much luck and skill is involved in the game of life.

Former Tennis pro Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) gets a job at a tennis club on the outskirts of London. There he meets Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode) and the two become fast friends, with Tom inviting Chris to the opera to meet his entire family, including his younger sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer). Chris and Chloe soon begin seeing each other and start a relationship. One weekend at the Hewett’s country home, Chris meets Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson) while playing ping-pong.  She is an American actress trying to make it in London. The two are attracted to each other instantaneously and nearly share a kiss before being interrupted by Tom. Tom then introduces Chris to Nola, who is apparently his fiancée.  Chris and Nola begin hanging out with each other privately, causing Chris to become more and more enthralled and enticed by her. She tells him that nothing more can happen between them due to their current relationship statuses. Chris winds up marrying Chloe, while Nola and Tom break up. Some time goes by and Chris and Chloe run into Nola at the Tate Art Gallery. Soon after this chance meeting, Nola and Chris start an affair and Nola becomes pregnant.  When Nola tells Chris about the baby he must decide which path to forge ahead with.  Will it be with Chloe or Nola?!

The strongest aspect of this movie is the screenplay: it was so well written!   So well written, in fact, that Woody Allen earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.  The motifs of the story, luck and chance, really focus on the three-dimensional characters and build upon them. There are characteristics of each of the four main characters which match traits we see in the people in our everyday lives.  Tom’s good naturedness, Chris’s dilemma between doing what’s right and wrong, Nola’s conflicting vulnerability and confidence, and Chloe’s love for her husband. Mr. Allen wrote the screenplay in a way that not only made the subject matter interesting to the viewer, but also made the story and characters relatable.

In a film with a strong screenplay, casting the specific roles to the right actors is vital. The casting director of the film did a phenomenal job, and deserves major accolades. Every actor played their character perfectly down to even the littlest of quirks. The two actors that particularly caught my eye and made the story come to life for me were Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Scarlett Johansson portrayal Nola as a character who appeared to be very confident, yet had a vulnerability about her. Johansson added the right amount of vulnerability to the character, thus making her likeable. Jonathan Rhys Meyers, as the main protagonist Chris, was able to make his character really likeable in some cases and a villain in others.  He was a great counterpoint for Johansson’s vulnerable and confident character Nola.

Being that Woody Allen is mostly known for his quirky comedies and mostly known for making New York the setting for his movies, I thought it was interesting to see his take on a more dramatic piece. With that being said, I thought he effectively created a story around the drama and wrote great characters in which the audience were really invested by the end. I leave you, like I will with the majority of my reviews, with a question. How much in life is decided by luck and how much is decided by skill? After viewing this movie, you will be pondering this question every time you have to make an important decision or every time a big life event occurs.   Until next time, happy viewing to you all.

4 out of 5 Stars

Match Point
Dreamworks (2005)
R, 124 Minutes
Have a film you think I’d like?  Drop me a line on the contact page!