September 22, 2004

Movie Review: Wimbledon

The other day I was trying to decide what movie to see, I really wanted to go see Sky Captain but I know some other people that want to see it and couldn't go so I decided to go with Wimbledon. I'm glad I did as it turned out to be an enjoyable little movie.

It stars Paul Bettany as Peter Colt, a fading tennis star who is about to leave the tour to become a club pro. He enters the Wimbledon tournament with the intentions of it being his final shot at the top, everything changes when he meets Lizzie Bradbury(Kirsten Dunst), a rising star in her first big tournament. They strike up a relationship which inspires Peter, and causes distractions to Lizzie, or so says her protective father, Dennis (Sam Neill). This leads through the generic cliches of the sports film on a collision course towards a happy ending.

Despite all of the cliches at work here, it was still a very enjoyable movie. There are the obstacles of the father and another young tennis star. But the plot isn't what made this film good. Sure it has the suspenseful matches where it looks like he will loose, the injury and fighting through the pain, all very well done, but the characters are what make this work.

It is nice to see Paul Bettany outside of the Russell Crowe sidekick role (A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander), and into a leading role of his own. He portrays an easy confidence on the screen. He brings an everyman quality to Peter Colt, presenting a guy that is easy to relate to and believable. Kirsten Dunst is, well, Kirsten Dunst, giving us a bouncy cheery tennis player prone to bouts of emotional outbursts. Sam Neill is always a sure bet, giving us a controlling father, who on the surface is presented as the bad guy, but for a bad guy he makes a lot sense. All around good acting brings this movie to life.

Richard Loncraine directed it with a good eye, there are some really good tennis action delivered here, probably the best I've seen in a movie. Of course, I can't remember the last tennis movie I've seen. In any event, it was well made with fun performances from all involved. Turned out to be one of the better romantic comedies of recent memory.



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