Match Point

Match Point
Match Point
Directed by Woody Allen
Produced by Letty Aronson
Gareth Wiley
Lucy Darwin
Written by Woody Allen
Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Scarlett Johansson
Emily Mortimer
Matthew Goode
Brian Cox
Penelope Wilton
Ewen Bremner
James Nesbitt
Rupert Penry-Jones
Cinematography Remi Adefarasin
Editing by Alisa Lepselter
Studio BBC Films
Thema Production SA
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures
Icon Productions
Release date(s) 12 May 2005 (2005-05-12) (Cannes)
6 January 2006 (2006-01-06) (United Kingdom)
Running time 124 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $15 million
Box office $85,306,374[1]

Match Point is a 2005 dramatic thriller film written and directed by Woody Allen, and starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Emily Mortimer, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox and Penelope Wilton.

The film received critical acclaim, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.



Chris (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a recently retired tennis pro, takes up a job as a tennis instructor at an upmarket London club. He strikes up a friendship with a wealthy pupil, Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode), after discovering a common affinity for opera. Tom's older sister, Chloe (Emily Mortimer), is smitten with Chris and the two begin dating. During a family gathering, Chris meets Tom's fiancée, Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson), and they are instantly attracted to each other. Tom's mother Eleanor (Penelope Wilton) clearly does not approve of her son's relationship with a struggling American actress, a source of tension. Chloe encourages her father to give Chris a job as an executive in one of his companies; Chris begins to be accepted into the family, and marriage is discussed.

During a storm, Chris follows Nola outside and confesses his feelings for her, and they make love in a field, feeling both passionate and guilty. Nola treats this as an accident; Chris, however, wants an ongoing clandestine relationship. Eventually, Chris marries Chloe. Some days later, Chris learns that Tom has broken up with Nola.

Chris and Chloe are unable to have children, much to her distress, and Chris is turning into a workaholic. Chris vainly tries to track down Nola at her old apartment, but meets her by chance some time later at the Tate Modern, where he is supposed to meet Chloe. Under his wife's nose, he discreetly asks for her number so they can meet. The two of them start having an affair.

While Chris is spending time with his wife's family, Nola calls him to inform him that she is pregnant. Panicked, Chris asks her to get an abortion, but she refuses, saying that she wants to raise the child with him. Chris' strange behaviour makes Chloe suspect he is having an affair, but Chris convinces her that he is not. Nola urges Chris to divorce Chloe. Chris feels trapped and finds himself lying to Chloe as well as Nola. Upon discovering some of his lies, Nola confronts him, and he just barely escapes public detection.

Chris steals a shotgun from his father-in-law's home and carries it to his office in a tennis bag. After leaving his office, Chris calls Nola to tell her he has good news for her. He goes to Nola's place and enters the apartment of Mrs. Eastby (Margaret Tyzack), Nola's neighbour, on the pretext of checking her TV reception. He shoots and kills her, then makes the scene look like a burglary. He takes some jewellery and drugs, and puts them in his tennis bag. As Nola reaches her apartment, Chris shoots her as well. He then takes a cab to the theatre to watch a musical with Chloe. Police investigate the crime scene and conclude it was a drug-related robbery.

The following day, the murder is in the news. Chris, on his next trip to his father-in-law's place, replaces the shotgun. Chloe and Chris announce to the Hewetts that Chloe is pregnant.

Meanwhile, Chris receives a call from Detective Mike Banner (James Nesbitt) and is called in for regular questioning in relation to the murder. Before the questioning, Chris dumps Mrs. Eastby's jewellery and drugs into the river, but by chance her ring bounces on the railing and falls on the pavement. During the police questioning, Chris claims that he and Nola hardly knew each other, but Banner surprises him by pulling out Nola's diary, in which he features extensively. Chris confesses his affair to Banner but denies any link to the murder, and appeals to the detectives not to involve him any more in their investigation, as news of the affair may well end his marriage, just as he and his wife are trying to conceive a baby.

Chris sees apparitions of Nola and Mrs. Eastby, who tell him to be ready for the consequences of his actions; Chris replies that his crimes had been "necessary", and that he is able to suppress his guilt. At the same time, Banner suddenly, in a dream, figures out Chris's crime. His theory is nevertheless discredited by his partner (Ewen Bremner), who informs him that a drug peddler found murdered on the streets had Eastby's ring in his pocket.

The film ends with Chloe having a baby boy named Terrence, and his uncle blessing him not with goodness but with luck. Chris stands by the window, somewhat detached from the arrival of his newborn son.



Allen has claimed that Match Point “arguably may be the best film that I’ve made. This is strictly accidental, it just happened to come out right. You know, I try to make them all good, but some come out and some don’t. With this one everything seemed to come out right. The actors fell in, the photography fell in and the story clicked. I caught a lot of breaks”.[2] The film was screened out of competition at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.[3]

Critical reception

The film received generally strong reviews from critics, particularly in the United States. As of January 21, 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that the film received 77 percent positive reviews, based on 203 reviews.[4] Reviews in the United Kingdom were considerably less favourable. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 72 out of 100, based on 40 reviews.[5] Match Point has also been the object of scholarship. Joseph Henry Vogel argues the film is exemplary of ecocriticism as an economic school of thought.[6] The film was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.[7]

Box office

Match Point broke a long streak of box office flops for Allen, with a worldwide gross of $85,306,374, comprising $23,151,529 in its North American run and $62,154,845 abroad.[1]


The film is a debate with Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, which Chris is seen reading early on. Doestovsky's anti-hero Raskolnikov is a brooding loner who kills an old woman to prove that he is a superior being, but is racked by guilt and eventually admits all to a dogged sleuth, although he is finally redeemed by punishment, the love of a poor girl and the discovery of God. Chris is a brooding loner who kills a poor girl who loves him because he considers his interests superior to those around him, knows no guilt, and avoids detection by a dogged sleuth through sheer luck. Allen signals his intentions with more superficial similarities: Both killers attempt to cover their crime by faking a robbery; two unexpected painters on the stairs nearly throw both killers' plans into disarray; both dogged sleuths play cat and mouse with their respective killers. Allen argues, unlike Dostoevsky, that there is neither God, punishment nor love to provide redemption.

The story also borrows liberally from the dramatic half of Allen’s earlier film, Crimes and Misdemeanors. Like in Match Point, that film’s protagonist, Judah Rosenthal, is an affluent member of the upper-middle class who’s having an extramarital affair. After he threatens to break the affair off, the mistress blackmails him and threatens to go to his wife. Soon, the protagonist takes matters into his own hands and decides to murder his mistress. Although the two characters experience brief pangs of guilt both end their respective films suppressing what little remorse they feel for the crime, and go on as if nothing had happened.

However, while Crimes and Misdemeanors is the main source of inspiration for Match Point, it also alludes to some of Allen’s other films. The tennis scenes here are reminiscent of the earlier tennis scenes in Annie Hall, and the final shot involving Chris gazing out the window into a vacant sky is a direct quotation of the final shot from Interiors, where Diane Keaton, Mary Beth Hurt, and Kristin Griffith do the same.


The film's backdrop includes well-known London locations,[8] such as the Tate Modern, Norman Foster's "Gherkin", Richard Rogers' Lloyd's building, the Royal Opera House, the Palace of Westminster, Blackfriars Bridge and Cambridge Circus. One of the University of Westminster's Marylebone campus lecture theatres was also used. UK-based graffiti artist Banksy's "girl with balloon" appears briefly in the film. Parliament View at Lambeth Bridge was used for interiors of Chris and Chloe's flat.


The film's soundtrack consists almost entirely of pre-World War I 78 rpm recordings of opera arias sung by Italian tenor Enrico Caruso, some of which are available from the Internet Archive:

Opera connoisseurs have noted that the arias and opera extracts make an ironic commentary on the actions of the characters and sometimes foreshadow developments in the movie's narrative.[9] The Caruso arias are intercut with extracts from contemporary performances which the characters attend over the course of the film. There are scenes at the Royal Opera House and elsewhere performed by opera singers ("La Traviata" performed by Janis Kelly and Alan Oke, "Rigoletto" performed by Mary Hegarty), accompanied by a piano (performed by Tim Lole).

Arias and extracts include work by Giuseppe Verdi (in particular Macbeth, La Traviata, Il Trovatore and Rigoletto), Gaetano Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, Georges Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles, and Antônio Carlos Gomes's Salvatore Rosa sung by Caruso. The romanza Una furtiva lagrima from L'elisir d'amore is featured repeatedly, including during the opening credits.

Mrs. Eastby (Margaret Tyzack) is listening to budget price Naxos CD Operatic Duets for Tenor and Baritone by Janez Lotrič and Igor Morozov (the aria "Arresta...Quali sguardi!" from Gioachino Rossini's Guglielmo Tell, then Desdemona's murder scene from Verdi's Otello) when she is shot by Chris.


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Match Point — Título Match Point (Argentina, España) La provocación (Venezuela y México) Ficha técnica Dirección Woody Allen Producción Letty Aronson Lucy Darwin Stephen …   Wikipedia Español

  • Match point — est un film américano britannique réalisé par Woody Allen, sorti en 2005. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Fiche technique 3 Distribution 4 Autour du film …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Match Point — est un film dramatique américano britannique, réalisé par Woody Allen, sorti en 2005 au cinéma. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Fiche technique 3 Distribution …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Match point — may refer to: Match point (tennis) is won if the player in the lead scores Match Point, a 2005 film directed by Woody Allen Bridge (matchpoint) This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same title. If an …   Wikipedia

  • match point — n 1.) [U] a situation in tennis when the person who wins the next point will win the match 2.) the point that a player must win in order to win a tennis match →↑game point …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • match point — / mætʃpɔint/, it. /mɛtʃ pɔint/ locuz. ingl. (propr. punto [point ] di vittoria [match ] ), usata in ital. come s.m. (sport.) [nel tennis e nella pallavolo, punto decisivo] ▶◀ match ball …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • match point — match points N VAR In a game of tennis, match point is the situation when the player who is in the lead can win the whole match if they win the next point …   English dictionary

  • match point — match′ point′ n. 1) spo (in tennis, squash, handball, etc.) a situation in which the next point scored could decide the winner of the match 2) spo the winning point itself • Etymology: 1920–25 …   From formal English to slang

  • match point — n. 1. a situation, as in a tennis game, when one of the players can win the match by winning the next point 2. this point …   English World dictionary

  • match point — loc.s.m.inv. ES ingl. {{wmetafile0}} TS sport nel tennis e nella pallavolo, il punto finale, che permette di vincere l incontro {{line}} {{/line}} DATA: sec. XX. ETIMO: comp. di match 1partita e point 1punto …   Dizionario italiano

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