What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film includes frequent references to sex and sexual desire, including scenes of a married couple in bed and of adulterous sex (one takes place in a field, in the rain; the imagery is not explicit, but a minute or so of lusty performance). Characters frequently refer to "making love" and use verbal innuendo ("Who's my next victim?", "a powerful serve"). Characters appear in various states of undress (the rainy scene shows the woman's nipples through her wet shirt). The film includes some arguments among family members; characters smoke cigarettes frequently and drink alcohol. The climax involves a murder with a shotgun, rendered in a way that emphasizes the emotional impact of the violence on the shooter.
What's the story?
Set in London, MATCH POINT focuses on Irish tennis pro Chris (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), who'd rather be lucky than good. He's bewildered by women, in particular by vivacious, sensuous Nola (Scarlett Johansson), an aspiring American actress. This even as he's engaged to be married to Chloe Wilton (Emily Mortimer), a bossy if occasionally sweet heiress, and Nola is dating Chloe's brother Tom (Matthew Goode). The British siblings are blandly self-absorbed and pleasantly ignorant, owing to their old money, while the outsiders want in. Chris' efforts to achieve his ambition grow increasingly nefarious. Chloe's father Alec (Brian Cox) takes a liking to Chris, but Chloe's mother, Eleanor (Penelope Wilton) disparages Nola, whose acting career stalls. Mummy's disapproval underlies Tom's own evolving diffidence; he ends up dumping Nola, while Chris commits to a career with Alec's company and a fancy church wedding with Chloe. Feeling "pressure" at home, Chris turns to Nola, their affair becoming more urgent, if not exactly passionate.
Is it any good?
Grim and gloomy, Woody Allen's film is a noirish character study by Woody Allen, not a comedy and not for kids. Chris's slide into the standard soul-sucking vortex is not especially affecting. His thudding caddishness, lacking in conscience or compassion, makes his appeal to Chloe, who otherwise seems self-confident to a fault, seem odd, except for the fact that she's preoccupied with having a baby, that recurrent bane of Allen's women.
Because Chris is the indecisive, unhappy protagonist in a Woody Allen movie, you can pretty much guess what happens to him. Though Chris begins by asserting his faith in luck, he ends up adrift and haunted, without any "measure of hope for the possibility of meaning." Maybe it's just luck that the women around him -- irrational, demanding, and voluble -- come to represent that lack.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Chris's ambitions: does he want to be rich? To feel passion? To feel lucky? How does the film compare instances of luck and talent? How is Chloe's desire for a child a problem for Chris? How do the outsiders (American Nola and Irish Chris) show their desire to get "inside" the upper class British family?