Direction: Woody Allen
Screenplay by: Woody Allen.
Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Emily Mortimer, Scarlett Johansson, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox.
Plot: Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is a tennis pro who never made it to the elite in the ATP. He decides to quit competing at a professional level and takes a job as a tennis coach at a prestigious academy in London. There he befriends one of his pupils: Tom Hewett, (Matthew Goode) an easygoing and friendly man from an extremely wealthy family. They both share an interest in the opera. Through this hobby Chris meets Tom´s sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer) a naïve young girl who is instantly smitten by him. The two begin dating and encourages her father Alec (Brian Cox) an extremely successful businessman with investments in various companies to procure him an executive job. Through them, Chris meets Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson) a struggling American actress with a strong temperament and currently engaged to Tom. The two of them begin a fatal attraction and seeing each other behind their respective couple´s backs with tragic consequences.
Critique: Woody Allen has had a strong inclination for showing failed romances with the background of Europe´s main cities (London, Barcelona, Paris or Rome) in the last decade. There has been a lot of hit and miss in this time. Fortunately this is one of the hits. There are various major themes displayed: failed romances, materialism, facades with a main focus on how important luck plays in life´s success and happiness. The main characters are extremely well displayed, transparent and approachable. All this of course, peppered with a bit of good old British Charm and humour.
Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) – Chris is an ex tennis pro who once he saw did not have the competitive edge or drive to be a full pro decided to become a tennis instructor at a prestigious academy in London. Being from a working class background he is extremely materialistic, and aims for the short cut to success. He is an excellent manipulator and befriends Tom and starts dating Chloe knowing that this would open up the doors to the elite of London´s wealthy circles. He is ultra-selfish and self-centered. Yet where luck did not favour him in his pure talent (tennis) it does favour him in his destructive ones of double crossing and lying.
Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson) – Nola is a temperamental, passionate and beautiful young American woman struggling to be a successful actress. She is sensitive and yearns for a life with excitement and adventure. She gives hints to having had a sad and dull life in America which she desperately flees from. In contrast to Chris, she is proof that good luck if elusive is the main factor behind success or in her case, failure.
Chloe (Emily Mortimer) Chloe is a young and naïve woman from an extremely wealthy family. She is open, friendly and completely gullible. She trusts Chris without thinking twice and tries to push him towards being the ideal boyfriend (later husband) she yearns for. That is someone working with a successful career in business, with expensive tastes and someone who can make her a mother (something she desperately and annoyingly craves).
Tom Hewett, (Matthew Goode) – Tom is a wealthy executive who enjoys playing tennis. He is immediately likeable, sociable, witty and knows how to charm a woman. This is what leads him to meeting and dating Nola. He immediately befriends Chris since like his sister he is trusting of people. He is also brought down by his overbearing mother which ends up his passionate but erratic relationship with Nola.
Alec (Brian Cox) Alec is an affluent business man with a taste for philanthropy. He is open, trusting and an old fashioned British gentleman. Unlike his mother he does not interfere negatively in his children´s lives. In fact he is positive and supports their lives choices to the point of being over protective and when Chris is careless and underperforming guarantees him that he need not worry since he does not want to bring any grief or worry to his daughter.