Game, Set, Point

Finally got around to watching Match Point over the weekend. A friend had recommended it, and it certainly sounded interesting.

It wasn't really what I was expecting, insofar as it took place over a much longer timeframe, and I didn't really expect actual marriages to be getting in the way. I guess I expected it to be all about Tom and Chris, with Nola in the middle. But it was mostly about Chris marrying Chloe, though still with Nola in the middle.

It started with Chris as an Irishman who'd been on the pro tennis tour briefly, but didn't find himself cut out for it, mentally if not physically. So he went to London to teach Tennis. Tom was a rich guy who played a bit of tennis in college, but hadn't played in a while. A mutual interest in opera got them to talking a bit more, and Chris met Chloe, Tom's sister, the first time they all went to the opera.

Chloe liked, or maybe was intrigued by, Chris when they met there, and invited him out to the family country estate soon after. Chloe and Chris definitely hit it off there, and fell in love. Simple, right? Well, Chris also met Nola at the party, and obviously wanted her, but she was already engaged to Tom, so it was left a bit... hanging, that day.

As I said, most of the movie is focused on the triangle of Chris, Chloe, and Nola. Said triangle got especially interesting once Tom and Nola broke it off, even though Chris and Chloe were married at that point. To make it even more complex, Chris was working for Chloe's dad (and apparently doing well for himself at that). Plus, as soon as they were married, Chloe wanted to get started on having a family (and probably did not go about it the right way; a bit too... clinical, I suppose, for Chris).

Anyway, there was a scene at the beginning of the movie where Chris is narrating, about the luck and skill involved in playing tennis. It shows the ball hitting the top of the net and bouncing upwards: he talks about whether it goes over, and you win, or bounces back, where you lose. The scene ends with the ball at the apex of its bounce, without showing where it lands.

Chris goes on to do some remarkably stupid (if, perhaps, fairly typical) things in the movie. Eventually, feeling completely trapped, he takes it to an entirely new level (of extremity and stupidity). We see that he isn't very good. Is he lucky?

I really liked how, at one point, he throws a piece of evidence towards the river; you can see the parallel with the tennis ball scene immediately. But they turned it on its head, in a way, which led to a very funny (in an ironic sense more than a hilarious sense) ending.

I mostly can't stand sit-coms, because most of the action in driven by people doing very stupid things. No Ordinary Family, which I really liked for the first couple of episodes, lost me in the third episode when it did that. I kept thinking I might try it again, but I never did.

In any event, this movie was a bit odd, because I enjoyed it even though much of the dynamic was the same. Maybe it was just because it was much darker in its handling of that stupidity; I'm not really sure. Maybe I just really liked the luck vs skill conundrum.

Certainly, that rates heavily in many endeavors (probably most, actually). I played Magic: The Gathering very seriously for a long time, but I eventually gave it up because I decided the luck factor was just too big. (If anyone's interested, I sold most of my cards, but I still have my mox/lotus/power blue/library set; mostly in beta.) Anyway, I think that's mostly the same as what Chris went through, just before the movie started.

He decided to teach tennis; I decided to focus more on computers (which, really, I was already doing. It just cut down on distraction).

One last thing about the movie; I thought it was very well acted, all the way around. Scarlett Johansson, as Nola, was playing roughly the same role she did in He's Just not That Into You. Johnathan Rhys Meyers played a very similar role, at least at the beginning, to what he did in Bend It Like Beckham (though, sadly, it still took me about ten minutes to recognize him as the same guy). And Brian Cox played the father's role to the hilt; he mostly seems to get supporting roles, but he's a fabulous actor. The rest of the cast also did a very good job, but I didn't recognize any of them.

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