Rightwing Film Geek

Match Point


Most critics have been reacting to MATCH POINT like it was MATCH GAME …

(Victor puts on his best Gene Rayburn lip-smacking leer)

“It’s Woody Allen’s best film since BLANK.”

(Victor puts on his best Brett Somers voice; “PATHETIC ANSWER OF THE YEAR AWARD” card pushed into the frame by Charles Nelson Reilly.)

Oh, goodgravymarie. My people out there, get ready to applaud. It’s obviously his best film since …. EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU.

(audience boos)

Don’t turn on me.

Naw, I tell you … EVERYONE SAYS was Woody’s only really happy, light 90s movie, precisely because it was quite explictly set in a world that couldn’t have been more fantastical or unreal. But still when Woody picks up Goldie and holds her over his head like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, only on the banks of the Seine, it’s just so … so. You know, Gene, like you and me in that motel room in Encino.


Anyhoo … my review of MATCH POINT is here at The Fact Is.

Obviously, while a very atypical film for Woody, it’s a return to form, and everybody has been saying that. In fact, if you put in the keywords “Match Point” and “best since” into Google here’s the result. Roger Ebert since CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS; Moriarty at Ain’t it Cool News says HUSBANDS AND WIVES, but Spy Ishmael says CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS; Zap2It says BULLETS OVER BROADWAY; John Hochman at the National Board of Review says MIGHTY APHRODITE. I haven’t found anyone yet to say MELINDA & MELINDA or ANYTHING ELSE, which proves there is still hope for mankind (hope that still continues as I repost in September 07).

The reception has reminded me a bit of the receptions to a couple of other late works, enthusiastically heralded as returns to form from roughly-septuginarian masters coming off a decade-long cold streak — Robert Altman was 67 at the time of THE PLAYER; Alfred Hitchcock was 73 for FRENZY; Allen is now 70. There are some other similarities — to steal one from my friend Mark Adams, both MATCH POINT and THE PLAYER “end with successful murders and pregnant wives.” And both MATCH POINT and FRENZY push some auteurial tendencies in morals and subject matter to some potentially awkward places they hadn’t previously gone or had successfully sugar-coated.

In my Fact Is review, I place MATCH POINT in the category of nihilist art that says more than the maker intends or even works contrary to his intent. Someone on St. Blogs (I think it was Rod, but I can’t find it quickly) said of CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS that one comes out of it glad for one’s faith. I’d say the same thing about MATCH POINT, except to add that it entirely depends on how one takes the very last scene. Is it a simple-to-consume straightforward happy ending? Or an ending that, in failing to convince, “succeeds.”

January 27, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. There’s no ground here that Allen hasn’t gone over before, but as a treatment of upper crust mores and, eventually, as a thriller, it’s compulsively watchable and generally well acted. Nice post!

    Comment by CMrok93 | November 12, 2010 | Reply

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