Match Point - Reception


Allen has said that Match Point, is one of his few "A-films", and even “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!”

The film was screened out of competition at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. Match Point broke a streak of box office flops for Allen: it earned $85,306,374 worldwide, of which $23,151,529 was in its North American run. Allen was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

The film received generally strong reviews from critics, particularly in the United States. As of 21 January 2008 (2008 -01-21), Rotten Tomatoes reported that the film received 77% positive reviews, based on 203 reviews from American critics; however, amongst the elite panel of 41 "Top Critics" 90% approved of the film. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 72 out of 100, and thus "generally favourable reviews", based on forty professional critics. 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. Several critics and commentators have compared elements of the film to the central plot of George Stevens' film A Place in the Sun (1951), but with some characters in reverse positions.

Ebert gave the film a full four stars, and agreed it was one of Allen's best in recent memory, in this case since 1989. He described the film as having a "terrible fascination that lasts all the way through", and ranked it with Allen's best work. Empire magazine gave the film four stars from five, calling it Allen's best of his last half a dozen films and recommended it even to those who are not fans of the director. Reviewers in the UK were generally less favourable. Philip French, writing in The Observer, criticised Allen's grasp of English idiom and the film's lack of humour, especially considering that two comic actors from the UK were cast in minor roles. Instead, the dialogue is rather lumbering and the lexicons of neither the City financier nor the London constable are used convincingly. Tim Robey, writing in The Daily Telegraph, disdained the claim that it was Allen's return to form, although he acknowledged that the consensus was stronger this time, he criticised "flat-footed a movie as Allen has ever made, a decent idea scuppered by a setting - London - which he treats with the peculiarly tin-eared reverence of a visitor who only thinks he knows his way around." He called Johansson's character "the chain-smoking mistress from hell", but said the tennis net analogy has an "unexpectedly crisp payoff" and that the last act was well handled. Reviewing for the BBC's website, Andy Jacobs awarded the film four stars from five, and called it Allen's best film since Deconstructing Harry (1997). He also criticised some other British reviewers whose dislike, Jacobs claims, was due to the fact that Allen presented an agreeable portrait of middle class life in London. He also praised the performances by Rhys Meyers and Johansson.

Like many of Allen's films, Match Point was popular in France: Allocine, a cinema information website, gave it a score of 4.4/5, based on a sample of thirty reviews. Les Inrockuptibles, a left wing French cultural magazine gave the film a strong review, calling it "one of his most accomplished films". It characterised Allen's move to London as re-invigorating for him, while recognising the caricatured portrayal of England which made the film less appreciated there than in Allen's homeland, the United States. Allen's return to form was carried off by "impeccable" performances from his two leads, Mr Rhys Meyers and Miss Johansson.

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