Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Loncraine|
|Music by||Edward Shearmur|
|Edited by||Humphrey Dixon|
|Box office||$41.5 million|
Wimbledon is a 2004 romantic comedy film directed by Richard Loncraine. The film stars Paul Bettany as a washed-up tennis pro and Kirsten Dunst as an up-and-coming tennis star. Sam Neill and Jon Favreau co-star.
Peter Colt, a British professional tennis player in his thirties whose ranking has slipped from 11th to 119th in the world, has never really had to fight for anything, as his wealthy family allowed him to easily pursue his tennis ambitions. Though he earns a wildcard spot to the Wimbledon tournament, he feels it's time to admit he's getting too old to compete with fitter up-and-coming younger players and intends, after this last Wimbledon, to take a job with a prestigious tennis club.
As Wimbledon begins, he bumps into Lizzie Bradbury, the American rising star of female tennis. They fall in love and her interest in him changes his entire perception, even giving him the strength to win again. As their love grows, Peter's game becomes better and better. Lizzie's overprotective father-manager Dennis Bradbury is determined to nip their relationship in the bud, believing it detrimental to her career. One day, Dennis comes to Peter's old flat and yells at him for spoiling his daughter's game. She overhears this and decides to leave him and focus on her game.
The night before their semi-final matches, Peter sneaks into Lizzie's hotel room and persuades her to have sex. The next day, he performs above expectations and wins in straight sets, but Lizzie loses. Lizzie angrily breaks up with Peter, claiming his selfishness made her lose, and she decides to immediately return to the United States to train.
Peter has to play the final match against Jake Hammond, an arrogant American star and world number 1. At the airport, Lizzie watches an interview on TV in which Peter apologizes and declares his love for her. She returns to Wimbledon.
As Lizzie reaches the stadium, Peter has lost two sets in the final and is behind in the third. When the game is suspended due to rain, Lizzie appears in the dressing room and forgives him. She tells him the secret of Jake's tricky serves and Peter fights back to win the title (3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(8-6), 6-4). Now a national hero in Britain, he and Lizzie get married. With his support, Lizzie goes on to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon twice, ultimately achieving her dreams. In the last scene, Peter is with their youngest child, a boy, watching Lizzie and their eldest child, a girl, playing tennis together on a neighborhood court in New York City.
In the original script, Lizzie steps nude out of the shower upon meeting Peter. Actress Kirsten Dunst filmed the initial meeting scene nude, but before the film's release she persuaded director Richard Loncraine to edit the scene so her nudity was removed. The result is a strange cut first showing Dunst behind the glass shower door, then suddenly cutting to a shoulders-up view of her standing outside the glass door. The film is dedicated to Mark McCormack, founder of International Management Group, a management firm for high level athletes, who died on 16 May 2003.
The film used locally recruited Wimbledon residents as extras for the crowd scenes.
The actors served with real tennis balls. All others were added digitally to make it appear like they were playing.
Some scenes were filmed during the 2003 championships between matches. It is the only time in the history of the tournament that this has been allowed. Some of the grass court scenes with Paul Bettany were filmed at the Stoke Park Country Club, home of The Boodles Challenge. London Zoo's entrance was used for the entrance to Wimbledon. The beachfront scenes were filmed on location in Brighton.
Wimbledon received mixed reviews, with a 61% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 145 reviews with an average rating of 5.87/10. the consensus reads, " A predictable, bland rom-com, but Bettany proves to be an appealing lead." It received "average" of "mixed" reviews from Metacritic], which was a 59 out of 100 based on reviews from 35 critics.
Stephen Holden of The New York Times review stated that Wimbledon was a "much more conventional film", but with "cleverer-than-average dialogue and sharply drawn subsidiary characters". In Michael Charlotte's film review for Empire, he gave the film three out of five stars, saying that, "In tennis parlance, this fires off more moonballs to stay in play than outright winning shots. But Bettany is charming, and thankfully he and Dunst are appealing together".
Roger Ebert gave the film a positive review: "Wimbledon is a well-behaved movie about nice people who have good things happen to them. That's kind of startling, in a world where movie characters, especially in sports movies, occupy the edge of human experience. What a surprise to hear conversation instead of dialogue, and to realize that the villain may actually be right some of the time". He ultimately gave the film three out of four stars.
The film opened at number four, grossing US$7.1 million in its opening weekend at the North American box office.
The film's digital soundtrack uses the "Surround EX" format. The song that plays in the trailer of the film is "Everlasting Love" by U2. The film features two songs by the Sugababes: "Caught in a Moment" and "Sometimes", both from the album Three.