A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie is mainly about a violently deteriorating relationship, but it's also partially a cautionary tale about toxic work environments and how cutthroat, sexist behavior can bleed into all other aspects of life. Shows how running a company through ruthlessness and fear is ultimately poisonous, even if the very wealthy and powerful rarely face consequences.
Positive Role Models
No positive role models. Campbell is a hero to Luke, but he's nothing more than a hateful, ruthless man who's out to grab as much money as possible. As for Luke and Emily, the one who eventually becomes the nastiest is the one who "wins" in the end.
Written and directed by a woman, with a powerful woman in what's arguably the lead role (Luke is treated more or less equally, but the movie is more from Emily's point of view). But it's set in the world of finance and hedge funds, which means lots of White men. And the relationship of the main characters, who are a couple, is undermined when she's promoted over him and he doesn't do well with her success. One character of color in small role: Arjun (who's played by Iranian actor Sia Alipour).
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Violence & Scariness
Graphic, extended rape scene; it begins as consensual sex, but the man gets violent and smashes the woman's head on a bathroom sink -- she tells him it hurts and asks him to stop, but he keeps going until he finishes. She covers one bruise with makeup and shows several bruises from the assault. Woman hits man on side of head with beer bottle. Character's hand is sliced with knife; character is stabbed in shoulder, blood dribbling on floor. Man shoves woman against wall. Several scenes of violent arguing and shouting. Blood splotches on clothing. Characters throw tantrums, throwing stuff, smashing stuff.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Topless woman seen briefly. Passionate kissing. Passionate moaning. Man moves between woman's legs for suggested oral sex and emerges with period blood on lips. One character tries to seduce another -- kissing, groping in his pants, etc. He also touches himself under his clothing. Scene in strip club: Scantily clad women perform exotic dances and give a lap dance. Couple showers together. Dialogue about getting a towel for sex while woman is on period. Crude spoken story about college student accidentally having sex with sister. Very strong sex-related dialogue throughout ("eat my p---y," "sit on your face," "used a Doritos bag for a condom," etc.).
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Countless uses of "f--k," plus "motherf----r," "s--t," "p---y," "c--k," "a--hole," "ass," "dumb f---ing bitch," "d--k," "damn," "idiot," "moron," "piss." Exclamatory use of "Jesus Christ," "Christ," "Jesus," "oh my God."
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Products & Purchases
Reference to Doritos. Character orders "Maker's" in a bar (i.e., Maker's Mark bourbon).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Heavy drinking in a strip club: shots, bottle of unknown pills, character comes home stumbling drunk. Character gulps liquor from bottle. Characters go to work hung over. Nearly empty bottle of liquor on floor. Frequent social drinking, usually hard liquor, vodka, whiskey, etc. Couple celebrates with champagne. Main character smokes cigarettes in several scenes. Reference to "buying molly."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Fair Play is a graphic, violent erotic thriller/drama about a couple (Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich) whose jobs at a toxic hedge fund begin to violently rip apart their relationship. It's brutal and hard to watch, but it's also very smart, with well-drawn, organic characters. There's a long, brutal rape scene, and characters are also stabbed and sliced, hit in the head with a beer bottle, shoved against the wall. A woman has bruises all over her body, and there's dribbling blood, raging, arguing, and more. There's a brief glimpse of bare breasts, passionate kissing and moaning, a scene set in a strip club, and extremely explicit sex-related dialogue. Foul language includes nonstop use of "f--k," plus uses of "s--t," "p---y," and "a--hole" and exclamations of "Christ," "Jesus," and more. Characters drink socially throughout (sometimes to excess), there are brief drug references, and a character smokes cigarettes. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Avoiding the restrictions of a standard erotic thriller, this brutal drama expertly and equally explores the explosive passions of its two characters in a truthful, vivid, and unflinching way. Writer-director Chloe Domont, who's worked primarily in television, kicks off her feature film debut with a jaw-dropping opening that involves an attempt at intimacy in a restroom, blood, and a wedding ring. It's both a portrait of a relationship at its most passionate and an establishment of the movie's subsequent tone. Fair Play continues in a squirm-inducing way as the characters' relationship begins to curdle, bit by bit, with a sickening logic.
Passion turns from sensuousness to rage, and the characters lash out at each other in the same unthinking, animalistic ways with which they once embraced each other. But even if they aren't thinking, their behavior always seems to come from a logical, emotional place. We believe their feelings, and their actions follow. Moreover, both characters are equally fatally flawed. Domont also uses the hedge fund world to brilliant effect, playing up the toxic, callous atmosphere in which one co-worker will turn on another co-worker on a dime, with no remorse. (Her script's complex financial-speak dialogue sounds authentic -- and alien -- and serves to further unsettle.) To be sure, Fair Play isn't an easy watch, but it's a fascinating portrait of souls becoming corrupted, almost without warning.
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