From a humble background and with traditional values, Irish Chris Wilton is still struggling financially despite being a recently retired high ranked tennis pro. He has taken a job as a tennis instructor at an upscale London tennis club, although he knows there is a better life for him somewhere down the road. He is befriended by one of his students, wealthy Tom Hewett. Chris starts to date Tom's sister, Chloe Hewett, a girl-next-door type who is immediately attracted to Chris. Chloe quickly knows she wants to marry Chris, and through her businessman father, Alec Hewett, tries to help Chris and their future by getting him an executive job in Alec's company. In his life with the Hewetts, Chris begins to enjoy the finer things in life. Through it all however, Chris cannot help thinking about Nola Rice, a struggling American actress who he meets at the Hewett estate and who is Tom's unofficial fiancée. Nola is vivacious, and she knows the effect she has on men, including Chris. Unlike ...Written by
As of 2019, this marks as the only Woody Allen to not feature any Oscar nominated or Oscar winning actors/actresses in the cast. Usually Allen's ensemble casting on films always include someone who has received Oscar nominations or won the award. See more »
When Tom picks up Chris and Chloe, he gets out of the car wearing only a shirt. When he gets back in the car, he is wearing a jacket. See more »
Christopher "Chris" Wilton:
The man who said "I'd rather be lucky than good" saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It's scary to think so much is out of one's control. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net, and for a split second, it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck, it goes forward, and you win. Or maybe it doesn't, and you lose.
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Woody Allen has made a very similar movie in the past, Crimes and Misdemeanors. Both movies are essentially this author's take on Dostoevsky and his "Crime and punishment", and might be called "Crime and no punishment" and contain a nearly identical pondering on the nature of conscience and how easy it is in fact to live with murder, as many people in the west, especially in the upper echelons of society, indeed do, both figuratively and, in many cases, literally, weather it is in the world of politics, military aggressions (the word "collateral damage" comes in this movie in the end spoken by one of the victims) or ordinary life, with extreme western hypocrisy as a great "resource" to ease the way. The similarities of the two movies (almost the same murder situation, and the same result, similar motives), and the director's penchant for autobiographical elements as inspiration, makes one wonder what aspects of his shady past gave rise to this story redone like this again and again. This movie follows more closely "Crime and punishment" and there is even an old (but being he is anti-Dostoevsky, a poor one) lady that gets offed like a rat in a peanut butter trap.
The characters in this story involve some rich inbred British people, an Irish protagonist (fittingly), and a femme fatale in its American version (Scarlet "Lucy" Johansson), a failed actress but worth every cent in other, less reputable, domains, according to her own words. Faithful to the stereotypes, Irish turn out to have terroristic inclinations (movie was sponsored by BBC after all), American is "innocent" and "likable", British are boring, and there is even a Scottish detective (of Scotland Yard?!) who figures it all out, but to no avail, because blind luck was on the side of happiness of the elite British cream (who had been joined by another worthy member set in their standards of "morality").
This, at last, is a new element to the story. Luck. In the beginning, we have a scene where a tennis ball hits the net, and which side - by luck - it ends up on, determines outcome of the game. Very similar scene in the end in turn also determines the final outcome, i.e. "happy ending" which is in fact a more realistic version of most "happy endings" and "missions accomplished" in the culture that did not bring us Dostoevsky, but did come up with infected blankets and rationalizations, conformism and hypocrisy to make it easier to quell whatever conscience is left in whoever is still not a sociopath. And brought us Woody Allen, with brilliant wit and experiences to match the point.
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