Release Date: December 28th, 2005 (NYC)
January 9th, 2006 (Wider) by Dreamworks Pictures.
The Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox, Penelope Wilton.
Directed by Woody Allen.
BASIC PREMISE: After marrying Chloe (Mortimer), Chris (Rhys-Meyers) has a love affair with Nola (Johansson).
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: When you first meet Chris, his life can’t be any better. He marries Chloe, an upper-class woman whose father (Cox) hires him to work at his company. Tom (Goode), his brother-in-law introduces him to Nola, his beautiful, younger fiancée. From that point on, Chris can’t lay his eyes—or hands—off of Nola. Just like in a good Shakespearean tragedy, you know that the tranquility of the status quo can’t be maintained once the main character makes a big mistake. Surprisingly, writer/director Woody Allen has created a taut film with a very intricate plot complete with character development and a clear conflict. Each well-written scene feels true-to-life and necessary to the plot, even if you can easily predict what’s going to happen. Woody Allen seems to be more focused on characters than on plot—although the third act has a few interesting plot twists. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers gives a decent performance as his character tries to hide his relationship with Nola from his wife. In a well-shot scene located in a beautiful garden, he and Nola share a kiss in the rain. Scarlett Johansson is truly superb here as she goes through many different emotions ranging from love to frustration and anger. What Match Point doesn’t have is Allen’s trademark of dry comedy and memorable lines. Instead, creates a film rich with romance, drama, tragedy, and an absorbing character study of a man whose life gradually—and inevitably—spirals downward all because of his love affair.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Match Point explores many thought-provoking themes including fate, destiny, true love, and, above all, luck. These themes have a lot of in common because they depend on one another. When Chris sins by having a secret love affair with Nola, it affects everything in his life including his job. The personality difference between Nola and Chloe is clear from the start: Nola is warm and lively while Chloe is cold and boring. Just like Chris says, Nola truly wants a baby with him but Chloe just needs in a mechanical way—just to give her parents grandchildren. Woody Allen also makes a statement about money because Chris could divorce Chloe, but that would sacrifice his high-paying job at her father’s company.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
THE BOTTOM LINE: A taut and gripping thriller! Surprisingly absorbing and richly-tectured! Woody Allen’s best film in years! RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
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