Directed by Woody Allen and released in 2005, Match Point tells the story of Chris Wilton, who is coming from a modest background, who attend Tom Hewett, a young man born in of a bourgeois family. Chris and Tom become friends and Chris married with Chloe, Tom’s sister, but soon will experience a passion for Nola Rice, Tom’s girlfriend. Until the conclusion of this film, it will be torn between his desire to remain in a upper-class and his passion for Nola. This movies presents a typical problem problem of the philosophy : conflict between passion and reason.
Match Point and the ethical dilemna
One day or another, everyone is facinge a situation where one have to decide between two options. We know that a decision on our part for an option will eliminate the other from the equation. Our selection is usually spontaneously, our choice fell on the option we like more. However, at some point, an impossible situation occurs and the only possible outcome is that to recognize the positives and negatives of each option.
Sometimes we find ourselves, like Chris, faced with a dilemma: we are unable to make an informed decision because we can not make a choice without losing something we consider essential to our existence. Chris is a skeptical, he cannot choose.
In economics, taking into account the case where resources are not unlimited, when an agent decides to make a choice by purchasing a luxury good, he gets in a situation where he must wait before buying another well. The five year old child understands this principle: “if mom buy you this toy, it can not buy you whatever you wanted last week. ”
A choice often involves a loss of enjoyment as there is always some one or more options that will be discarded.
A man is made of choices and circumstances. Nobody has power over the circumstances, but each has its choice. I have written repeatedly about the theme of luck: we are often lured by chance and by the other, that we might become, should be considered when we reflect on our lives.
From the first scene of this feature film, the director presents the theme of chance. We see a tennis ball that hits the top of the net and can either pass on the other side, or fall back: with any luck, the ball is and the player wins. This sequence is described by Chris: “People are afraid to admit how much their life depends on luck: it’s scary to think that so many things beyond our control. ”
In addition to the theme of the dichotomy between choice and circumstances, I think we can raise the influence of the novelist and philosopher Dostoevsky throughout this long film by Woody Allen.
Match Point and Dostoevsky’s influence
First, early in the film, Chris reads the novel Crime and Punishment by Dostoevskyin which a nihilist theory of “anything goes” is made clear by Raskolnikov, the protagonist of the novel who commits premeditated murder of an old lender on wages. It is neither more nor less, an exaggerated view of the theory of the superman of Nietzsche: Raskolnikov thought to be a “superman” and believes he can transcend the moral limits by killing the old woman, stealing her money and the using it to do good.
If at the end of Crime and Punishment the hero is condemned, that of Match Point is not punished for his crime. This film does not condemn nihilism, he said rather loudly, that morality is a production of Man and, in fact, it does not. At the end of the story, Chris said he would like to be apprehended and punished. Thus, he could believe in a meaningful human existence, that is to say that would make sense, for any purpose, where vice triumph over virtue. Even among people non-believers, the idea that the criminal must pay for his crimes is deeply rooted in our genes.
The final scene does not answer the question it raises, rather than leaving the viewer to think about it. Chris gave his passion for Nola and decided to stay with Chloe, in a bourgeois milieu. This film makes us reflect on the concept of morality. Of course, Chris is not condemned, but we assume he feels remorse for the crime he committed.
The conclusion of the film does not leave us indifferent. Chris is still married to Chloe, economic prosperity seems assured and the birth of her child should give him joy. However, Chris is more reminiscent of the cruel aphorism of Sophocles, a greek philosopher : ‘escape from birth, it is probably the greatest opportunity‘