In "Match Point" everybody loses

Jan. 12, 2006, midnight | By Juliet Garlow | 18 years, 3 months ago

Disturbing plot ruins otherwise decent movie, worthy acting

It is no surprise that Woody Allen would choose to write and direct a movie that explores the theme of cheating on wives and dysfunctional families, considering Allen's personal background involves cheating on his wife with their adopted daughter, and eventually marrying her.

Scarlet Johansson and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers in Woody Allen's "Match Point."

Allen, the once comedic and talented film director and writer - turned neurotic weirdo - has written and directed another film, "Match Point." This new dramatic thriller is a character study of a former pro tennis player who cheats on his wife and runs into the inevitable conflicts from his ongoing affair. Needless to say, Allen is familiar with the emotional and psychological effects of being engaged in an affair and his experiences seem to influence his directing techniques, as the protagonists of the movie give tremendous performances.

The acting in "Match Point" is exceptional. Besides the convincing supporting acts given by Scarlett Johansson and Emily Mortimer, as the two female leads, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers gives a remarkable performance as the quiet but mischievous husband. His character begins as an innocent, hard-working gentleman, who has just discontinued his job as a professional tennis player. His humility and honesty soon win him the approval of a wealthy English businessman and his daughter Chloe's (Emily Mortimer) affections. Rhys-Meyers is so persuasive in his role that the audience almost forgets that the movie is about him cheating on his wife with the tempting and talented Ms. Johansson. When he initiates the affair with Johansson, he is able to maintain the same appearance as a truthful husband.

As the movie progresses though, he begins to reveal the untamed and sexually-driven side of Chris Wilton, through his aggressive nature in pursuit of Nola (Johansson). After getting too involved with Johansson, Rhys-Meyers is able to display the ongoing battle brewing inside Wilton's head. Eventually, Chris takes harsh actions to fix the situation to the audience's shock and disgust.

The use of music plays a major role in this film. As the film revolves around Wilton, who has just been accepted into a family of high status, he attends many operas, ballets and musicals throughout the movie. Thus, a certain song from the first opera Wilton and Chloe attend together acts as a motif of the extravagance of high society throughout the movie. This song proves to be versatile as it is used effectively during romantic scenes, setting a peaceful mood, while simultaneously inspiring chills up and down the spines of the audience members during the climax of the movie.

Overall this film is uninspiring and sends the questionable message that immoral deeds are not always punished. After watching this movie, it is difficult not to wonder whether loved ones are really telling the truth, sparking cynicism and questions such as whether it is possible to fully trust anyone. Although the acting enhances the movie and delights the audience, the rest of "Match Point" leaves audience members depressed and perhaps more suspicious.

"Match Point"(124 minutes) is rated R for some sexuality.

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Juliet Garlow. CAP junior Juliet Garlow loves almost all music but is especially fond of country. She plays softball too much and is training for the upcoming field hockey season. She is terrified of clowns and being eaten by a shark. Her guilty pleasures include watching entire … More »

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