June 3, 2006

"Match Point."

Is this movie any good? Chris says some things I agree with. We were laughing at it a lot early on, and I thought it was incredibly empty and stultifying. Woody Allen is mindnumbingly interested in rich people. But it ended well, and Scarlett Johansson did some terrific acting. She was quite fascinating even as she was saying rather dull lines. And both of the lead actors did have immense and shapely upper lips. That's gotta count for something.

19 comments:

Susan said...

I liked it because just as you smugly think you know how it's going to end, it ends differently.

Marghlar said...

Since no spoilers yet, I'll announce a SPOILER ALERT.

I found it moderately entertaining, but I had trouble buying into Meyers's character...for me, the calculating cold-bloodedness of his social climber character, and the big murder scene, never squared with the passion and lack of planning involved in his affair. I would have totally bought that he would have a thing on the side, since it was just calculation keeping him in his engagement/marriage. But it would have been smarter -- not with someone likely to give him away, and certainly not without the constant, thoughtful use of birth control.

You don't work that hard at a scheme, and then throw it away so thoughtlessly. The guy ruthless enough to lie his way through all that scheming, and to kill in order to make it work, just doesn't square with the carelessness of that affair.

reader_iam said...

So, Chris recommends it. Do you? Do the end, Johansson's acting and those lips make up for the beginning and the rather dull lines?

Ann Althouse said...

Do I recommend it? If you're with people who are hot to watch it, I wouldn't strenuously argue against it. I wouldn't go out of my way to see it either. I'm glad I kept with it, even though I was close to turning it off at many points. But that's after I put up with the first half.

It's quite artificial, but it's not enough fun to be a confection. I don't think it says anything serious about human nature. There are some actors and architecture, if you like that. Can I be any more lukewarm?

Early on we see the character reading the book "Crime and Punishment." it's better, I'd say, to do the same.

reader_iam said...

There are some actors and architecture, if you like that.

Tepid testament, indeed! LOL.

Freeman Hunt said...

Woody Allen is mindnumbingly interested in rich people.

So true. His intense interest was intensely boring. He also left the impression that though he was very interested in rich people, he didn't know much about them. I found that odd.

I spent a good portion of the movie turning to my husband to say, "Who talks like that?" Also, I didn't like the confrontation with the ghosts or dream people or whatever they were. That was bizarre and seemed like a puzzle piece out of place.

Craig Ranapia said...

Well, what's the gratuitous sideswipe about being interested in rich people about? Would it be better to see banal and predictable films about the middle-classes or the poor?

Craig Ranapia said...
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Craig Ranapia said...

The best capsule review came from the friend (and rabid Woody Allen fan) my partner and I saw the film with:

"I liked Match Point more when it was the half of Crimes and Misdemeanours with Martin Landau and Angelica Huston."

About right - but after a run of films that were obscenely self-absorbed (Deconstructing Harry) or padded half-hour shorts(Small Time Crooks), it was a pleasure to finally have Allen produce something I could sit though to the end.

Ann Althouse said...

Freeman: "He also left the impression that though he was very interested in rich people, he didn't know much about them. I found that odd."

Yes, this is the most artificial thing about the movie. You don't see a real culture, just a poor boy's life-long love-hate relationship with it. Of course, the mother is stone cold, passive aggressive, and drunk. Of course, an executive's job cannot be interesting or rewarding. Of course, these people are devoid of religion or philosophy (and they must begin talk about these subjects at one point in order to brush them aside).

""I spent a good portion of the movie turning to my husband to say, "Who talks like that?""

Chez Althouse, there were numerous exclamations of "No one talks like that!" The most ridiculous one had a woman at her wedding, after the kiss at the altar, saying something like "Good thing we're doing this now. I'm beginning to show." Maybe some jerk in the pews might mutter that, but who would say that at the altar? Even pregnant brides romanticize their own weddings. And the subject of timing them would have already been discussed.

Joseph Hovsep said...

The trajectory of the plot was entirely too predictible until about 3/4 of the way through, and then I had trouble believing the protagonist's actions and decisions. I sympathized with the difficulty and stress of the dilemma he found/put himself in, but thought he character was too complicated to justify his ultimate actions. I am glad I waited it out to the very end though for a bit of a rewarding plot twist. It was very dark, left me not feeling very good about human nature.

And I thought Ms. Johansson was great.

Ron said...

As I said in Chris' blog, the dialogue in many places, seems lifted almost directly from a '40's film. Scarlett's "meet cute" at the ping pong table? Terrible!

Plus, the use of the "luck" theme at the very gets really ridiculous! The cops have a suspect who has access to shotguns, who's admitted to adultery with the victim...but I guess they'll let it go. What?!?

Ann Althouse said...

Ron: Yeah, I was complaining in that scene. I said, "This is straight out of 'Holiday.'" Then, I was just groaning and whining "This is ridiculous."

Which reminds me... the main character was so conspicuously pursuing and then having an affair! After all those phone calls, taken so furtively, wouldn't the wife pick up the "mobile" phone at some point and check the numbers and call one?

Which reminds me... when main character meets Scarlett in the museum, he was all "say your phone number... say your phone number... say your phone number." Then she says it once, fast, and we're all "I bet he forgets it" and laughing.

PatCA said...

Woody Allen is also very interested in stories about people who get away with crime and live quite happily ever after. Hmmm, wonder why...

Also, I think Meyers is simply not sexy or interesting. I thought the brother in law would have made a much better lead character.

Ann Althouse said...

PatCA: But he does have an amazing upper lip. (What a philtrum!) Seeing it meshed with Scarlett's impressive upper lip was fabulous. That was a peak in the history of lippage.

Ron said...

While we're talking about attractiveness...Woody seems to be working hard to make Johannson unappealing. The thing in the rain in the field? (nothing more erotic than to have sex with someone who's just been told their worthless!) The small number of sex scenes are either hackneyed or...boring? With those two leads? I guess it's a 'negative gift' on the Woodman's part to make that happen.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I stopped watching all things Woody Allen around the time of the Soon Yi/Mia debacle.

Riane said...

I didn't think the acting was at all impressive. It seemed forced, and often vapid, especially on her part. I have a hard time understanding why I sat through the movie in the first place, and I certainly don't see what's so great about it. It was a good plot with entirely the wrong cast and an awkward script.

Freeman Hunt said...

The thing in the rain in the field?

Oh, that was horrible. It was supposed to be erotic, but all I could think about was how horribly uncomfortable and uncondusive to intimacy rolling around in a pointy, wet wheat field would be. All the grains stuck all over the body with the moisture from the rain. All the sharp stem shards from the wheat. Ow!