Oscar season always brings forth a flurry of “must-see” films, with writers, actors and directors bringing their A-game to the party in order to claim the most coveted awards in Hollywood. As a film critic with only two pages worth of space to fill, this makes it an incredibly difficult time of year to choose what to write about.
This year however, the most stunning film that I’ve seen has not in fact been nominated for an Oscar. The film is called ‘Match’, and it is 90 minutes of proof that all a film really needs in order to make a lasting impact on its viewers is good dialogue, actors who know their craft and a director to bring the two together.
‘Match’ revolves around Toby Powell (played by Sir Patrick Stewart), a world-renowned dancer and choreographer, who in his advanced age is teaching at the esteemed Juilliard School in Manhattan. Being somewhat of an introvert, Toby enjoys his solitude and thrives on his daily routine. He is therefore reluctant when approached by Lisa (Carla Gugino) and her husband Mike (Matthew Lillard), who say that they wish to interview him for Lisa’s dissertation. Although apprehensive and even socially awkward, Toby agrees to meet with the couple and answer their questions. But before long it becomes clear that their reason for tracking him down is very different from what they originally claimed, and as certain truths are brought into the open, the lives of all three characters begin to change drastically, and the end of the movie sees them become very different characters than they were at the beginning.
The only thing I’ll say against this film is that the plot twists are fairly predictable, but the performance of all three actors more than makes up for this. The script was written by Stephen Belber, who adapted it from his own play, and that’s exactly what it feels like when watching this film; it feels like watching a play. The characters are portrayed so strongly that you just can’t look away. The film is so powerful, so moving and thought provoking that once it had finished, I had no choice but to sit in silence for a few minutes to process what I had just seen.
So if the wanton violence of ‘American Sniper’, the CGI overload of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ or the presence of Ben Affleck in ‘Gone Girl’ is too much for you, then do yourself a favour: don’t blindly watch whatever the Academy tells you to – there’s plenty of talent to be found off of the red carpet as well.