Actors: Patrick Stewart, Matthew Lillard, Carla Gugino
Director: Stephen Belber
Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
Region: Region 1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
DVD Release Date: August 11, 2015
Run Time: 92 minutes
With three people in a small apartment carrying a conversation for a majority of its running time, it is easy to see that Match is adapted from a Tony Award-nominated play. Stephen Belber adapted his own material with slight adjustments, but even with the advantages of the camera’s intimacy this feels better suited for the stage. Something about the convenient contrivances of the melodrama fits with the fallacies of stage that already demand a certain suspension of disbelief from its audience members, whereas each narrative twist on film feels more expected than the last. The saving grace of the material comes in the form of a dedicated cast, though it is Patrick Stewart’s showy performance that overshadows the rest.
Stewart steals every scene as Tobi Powell, a legendary ballet instructor who is living his twilight years in quiet solitude amidst the hustle of
. The aged artist seems to welcome
the arrival of a young couple from Seattle, who visit him under the pretense of
interviewing him about his wilder days as a successful dancer in the 1960s.
Lisa (Carla Gugino) conducts the interview that she claims to be for her
dissertation on dance, but her husband Mike (Matthew Lillard) continually
interjects in ways that hint at an ulterior motive for the couple’s visit. With
each revelation of truth over the course of the single day which the film takes
place, the dynamic of the conversation between the three changes drastically. Manhattan
Lillard gives a surprisingly convincing turn in a dramatic role, while Gugino falls victim to some of the melodrama in the material, but this is really Stewart’s show. The way that the veteran actor embodies the role of Tobi makes the predictability of the material easily forgivable, while attempts from his cast mates to reach the same dramatic heights often come off as slightly melodramatic and forced. Some of this comes from the range of emotions that Stewart’s character requires, though even this would not have been as impactful without the actor’s commitment to the role. In a Q&A for the film that I attended, Stewart admitted to having a difficult time on set and having nearly quit at one point. Thankfully, he stuck with the production, giving one of his most nuanced performances in years, often elevating the material beyond what the simple stagy story deserves.
The DVD release includes a trailer of the film.
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 6/10