JRM Hits One Out of the Park

Forgot to mention that we saw Match Point on Tuesday night.

I am an unapologetic Woody Allen fan. I don’t care about Soon-Yi, I don’t care about Mia, I just don’t care, I’ve loved the guy and his work ever since I was old enough to begin to understand it. Of course I’ve been really disappointed with his output over the past 10-15 years, like everyone else. But Match Point is a strong return to form.

Before you get the wrong idea, it is NOT a comedy. And it’s set in London, not NYC. But it’s obviously a Woody Allen movie all the same. All the characters still spend their time going to galleries, opera, movies, and the theater. They talk a lot. But maybe because they’re all British, they seem far less neurotic than people in Woody’s other movies. On the other hand, because they’re British, some of Woody’s dialogue sounded very unnatural coming from them. Woody’s dialog only sounds natural when Woody speaks it, really.

Anyway, the plot here is that JRM plays an ex-pro tennis player from a poor background who is making a living giving tennis lessons to the rich and idle of London. He befriends the son of a ridiculously wealthy businessman, and before you know it he’s being invited to family trips to the opera, etc. At first the family treats him as a rather interesting pet. (Oh, btw, the father is played by the ever-wonderful Brian Cox.) But then the daughter falls in love with him (hey, it’s JRM.) In no time he has a life of wealth and ease just handed to him on a platter…marry the daughter…dad will give him a job in the company…they receive an obscenely huge and beautiful condo for a wedding gift, etc. JRM’s character is happy to have this life, but he feels trapped.

Enter Scarlett Johansson. She’s engaged to JRM’s brother-in-law. We all know where this is headed, and it does. ( I just know you’re wondering if they had hot sex scenes. Well, sorta. They had very hot -beginnings- of hot sex scenes, but alas they all would all cut away just when they were getting good. :( )

Shortly thereafter the movie turns from a rather boring and talky study of British class conflicts, to a taut psychological thriller. This second half is really, really good but I can’t tell you anything about it without giving it away. But I will say that the Woodster does some virtuoso stuff here. He plays the audience with absolute ease, keeping the tension pulled tight and our breath held in for the duration. And we never once see the ending coming. JRM does the best acting of his career here, and SJo is very good as the femme fatale. She is the true “Woody Allen character” in all this, the one deeply neurotic one, and her neuroses are what move the plot.

Match Point is really very reminiscent of A Place in the Sun(1951), with JRM in the Monty Clift part. But where Sun was melancholy and tragic, Match Point is edgy, suspenseful, and dark. Ultimately (and interestingly), Match Point ends up being a movie all about Luck, or Fate…and how life just depends on which way the ball bounces.

Definitely worth checking out in theaters if you’re a huge JRM or Woody Allen fan. I’m both, so I had to go. :) Everyone else can wait for rental.

One Response to “JRM Hits One Out of the Park”

  1. Haley Says:

    I wanted to see the movie, but we live in a town were the movies you want to see are 1.5 to 3 months old. I wanted to see the movie because I have a fangirl crush on Scarlett Johansson. *sigh* I am not getting JRM tho, enlighten me??? I need some skooling on the man!!

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