Rom-Com Blog Power Rankings: No. 10 “Wimbledon”
No I am not talking about the tennis tournament that takes place every year around July 4th.. Actually I am talking about that tennis tournament, except in 2004 a rom-com came out where the love story happened during Wimbledon. The love story was between a young, promising future star of tennis (Kirsten Dunst) and an aging, lost tennis player (Paul Bettany). Dunst was one of the top female players in the world and Bettany was lucky to even make a major tournament. But then once they met and started becoming infatuated with each other, Bettany found himself as a player.
He started winning matches and made it all the way to the finals as a qualifier. Before the tournament he announced that after Wimbledon he will retire and no one thought he would make it all the way to the finals, but he did, and a big reason why he did that was because of Dunst. The father of Dunst did not want the little fling to go any further because he did not want it to affect her play (she got knocked out of the tournament earlier than expected). They hit a rough patch and she was on her way back to America while Bettany with his heart broken prepared for the biggest match of his life. He was down two sets to zero before it started to downpour. The match was delayed and in the locker room he was surprisingly greeted by Dunst who told Bettany that she loved him.. This gave Bettany all the confidence in the world.
He obviously won the match and they end up living happily ever after, but the thing that was interesting about this movie was that it used tennis as the sport to back up the rom-com genre. There are not many tennis movies out there and there are certainly not many tennis rom-coms out there because lets face it.. TENNIS IS BORING AND CONFUSING.
It is really hard to explain the sport to someone and trying to teach people how they keep score in tennis is almost impossible because they always ask.. Why does is go 15, then 30, then 40? Honestly, I do not know and I played tennis in college. The sport is also not that interesting either, like unless you play tennis or consider yourself a fan, you are not going to appreciate the game of tennis. There is no such thing as a casual tennis fan, a casual fan will watch say The Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the Golden State Warriors, but will not consider themselves an NBA fan. They will watch Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning as a casual football fan, but there is no such thing as a casual tennis fan. “Federer vs. Murray in the championship, lets watch it!!” said no one ever.
This movie was smart to use to great actors like Dunst and Bettany with a sport like tennis. The movie was not about tennis; it was about love, which is why this movie worked. A tennis movie with love in it would never work, a movie about the start of a special relationship because of tennis will always work. I do not think this movie made anymore want to pick up tennis or watch the next big match, but I think people will like this movie even if they do not like tennis.
Tennis is a great sport, but it not a great sport to take place in movies; “Wimbledon” is the exception.