Wimbledon may be a well-behaved movie about nice people that have goodies to happen to them. That’s quite startling, during a world where movie characters, especially in sports movies, occupy the sting of human experience. What a surprise to listen to the conversation rather than dialogue, and to understand that the villain may very well be right a number of the time.
The movie stars Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst as tennis pros – she a rising star, he a fading one. Lizzie Bradbury’s greatness is before her, but Peter Colt fears he is all behind. He was once ranked 11th within the world, is now down around 113 and falling. He gets a wild card berth at Wimbledon and vows that, win or lose, he’ll retire from the professional circuit after this tournament.
The two players have the parents representative of their own respective civilizations. Lizzie’s dad, Dennis (Sam Neill), maybe a hard-driving American compulsive who has managed Lizzie’s career since she was a toddler. Peter’s parents (Bernard Hill and Eleanor Bron) are rich British eccentrics; his mother potters within the garden and his father moves into the treehouse after a fight together with his wife. Stop to think about how few movie sports heroes even have parents (some don’t even seem of woman born).
Lizzie and Peter have a Meet Cute early within the film when he’s mistakenly given the key to her suite at the Dorchester. She is nude within the shower but handles things with such composure that we wonder if she arranged for him to urge the key.
She comes down in favor of it, and shortly they’re snuggling and holding hands. Her father in fact believes sex before a match may be a drain of precious bodily fluids and warns Peter away. Peter tries to reassure him, but the daddy says, “This time it’s different. She’s falling for you.”
And so she is, during a movie where the lovers keep late hours for finalists at Wimbledon. His nightly workouts were able to inspire Peter, who scores one upset after another highly seeded player. However, Lizzie’s father is afraid that she’s tiring herself, tries to hide her, and even tracks the couple to Brighton during a scene that is embarrassingly captured on live television.