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Film / Wimbledon

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Wimbledon is a 2004 romantic comedy film directed by Richard Loncraine. The film centers on a washed-up tennis pro named Peter Colt (played by Paul Bettany) and an up-and-coming star player named Lizzie Bradbury (played by Kirsten Dunst) during the Wimbledon Championships.

The film is dedicated to the lawyer and sports agent Mark McCormack, who died on 16 May 2003 after suffering cardiac arrest four months earlier.

Some tropes in this movie are:

  • Abhorrent Admirer Jake Hammond keeps pestering Lizzie to go out with him despite her repeatedly telling him she wants nothing to do with him due to his Jerkass attitude.
  • Actor Allusion: In one scene Peter is trying to sneak past his manager who mumbles the name "Jennifer" in his sleep. In real life Paul Bettany is married to Jennifer Connelly. Jon Favreau ad-libbed the name to try and make Paul laugh.
  • Apologizes a Lot: Lizzie accuses Peter of this, saying it's "A British thing".
  • Arrow Cam: There are several shots that follow the ball in the first person during the tennis games. Sometimes even in Slow Motion.
  • As Himself: Given the film was shot during the actual Wimbledon tournament, several tennis professionals who were there have a minor cameos in the film.
  • Babies Ever After: The last scene is set several years in the future where Peter and Lizzie are Happily Married and living in New York, teaching their kids how to play tennis.
  • Bathtub Bonding: Sauna bonding. After their game, Peter and Dieter bond on the sauna, re-affirming their friendship.
  • Battle in the Rain: Subverted. It starts to rain in the final match between Peter and Hammond, but they don't play in the rain and the match is postponed instead.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: After their night together, Lizzie watches Peter sleeping in the morning after, before she gets out of bed.
  • Big Game: Wimbledon, it's the titular Grand Slam tennis tournament in which the main characters are playing, and Peter's final tournament regardless of his result before he agrees to a coaching job.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Peter and Lizzie break up after their respective semis because she was furious that he cost her her match while he easily won his. They make up during the final, where she returns to give him crucial advice for beating Hammond.
  • Career Versus Man: Lizzie finds herself in this dichotomy, specially when she loses her match after having spent the whole night with Peter... and he wins his own. She breaks up with him, but later they make amends and by the end of the movie, we see that they've managed a sort-of balance: they get married, Peter retires, and soon Lizzie goes on winning the US Open and Wimbledon twice, with Peter as her biggest supporter.
  • Character Narrator: Main character Peter narrates the film, giving his perspective on the events after every scene.
  • Comet of Doom: Peter seems to go on a winning streak at the tournament only while a comet is in the sky. And when him and Lizzie break up before the finals, the comet disappears from the sky, along with Peter's skill and self-confidence.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Jake Hammond is the 1st ranked tennis player in the world and the favorite the win Wimbleton, and he's Peter's final opponent. Peter wins, but only after a pep talk from Lizzie.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Sort-of. At the start, one of Peter's reasons to be on a tennis slump is that he's kind of a Sheltered Aristocrat who hasn't really fought for anything in his life.
  • Dirty Old Woman: One of the women at the tennis club isn't shy with her statements about (comparably) younger men, to her friend's consternation.
  • Eagle Land: Jake Hammond is of the arrogant Jerkass type.
  • Enter Stage Window: When Lizzie's father forbids him from seeing her, he tries to sneak into her room via the window. At first he picks the wrong window and ends up at her dad's room, but manages to sneak away without being seen before finding her window.
  • Foil: The two main characters, Lizzie and Peter are made to contrast each other when it comes to their tennis career. She is a rising star having her first try at Wimbledon, while he is a fading one star having his last go at the tournament before he retires.
  • Friendship Moment: Peter's third match is against his best friend Dieter. After Peter wins, Dieter assures him that this changes nothing between them and they'll stay practice partners.
  • Generation Xerox: Peter and Lizzie's kids seem to be as adept at tennis as their parents are.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Peter and Dieter, practice partners and third-round opponents.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Peter is a fading tennis star who just never quite made it big. He gets a wild card berth at Wimbledon and vows that, win or lose, he'll retire from the pro circuit after this tournament. Ultimately subverted, as the film ends with him actually winning Wimbledon, but choosing to retire on a high note.
  • Idle Rich: Peter came from a rich family, and he put a lot of focus on his tennis career purely because he feels he never really struggled in life. His brother plays this even more straight, having no job or hobby.
  • Kick the Dog: Perhaps unintentional, but Hammond serves a ball right into a ball boy's face at the beginning of the final between him and Peter. Peter decides then that It's Personal.
  • Last-Second Chance: For Peter, he either wins Wimbledon this time or his career is over.
  • Love Hurts: And it certainly influences Peter and Lizzie's relationship.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Lizzie's father didn't mind her sleeping around before, but does become worried when she seems to start falling for Peter for real, since it starts to distract her and is throwing off her game.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Lizzie and Peter have a bedsheet up to their waist when we see them in the morning after they slept together. Lizzie also changes into his shirt when she gets up.
  • Naked First Impression: Peter walks into what he thinks is his hotel room only to find Lizzie taking a shower, although he only gets a Shoulders-Up Nudity and Sexy Silhouette view since she's behind the frosted glass. She actually handles the situation cooly, but he's rather distracted. Thankfully to him, she's amused by his bumbling.
    Peter: Yes, goodbye, and may I say good body?
    Lizzie: [grins at him]]
    Peter: Luck! Oh, shit! I meant... shit! [Peter goes towards a door and opens it] Ah. Lovely kitchen.
    Lizzie: [still grinning, she points to the actual exit] That way.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Peter recognises the ball boy who keeps getting assigned to his matches and always greets the kid in a friendly way. By contrast, Jake Hammond hits the same ball boy in the face with a stray serve and doesn't even try to apologise or check if he's okay.
  • "No Talking or Phones" Warning: Ron Roth's cellphone rings in the middle of the Colt-Hammond match earning him a warning from the Court Official to turn it off.
  • One-Word Title: Wimbledon, which the name of the tennis tournament the characters are competing in.
  • Opposing Sports Team: While both Peter and Lizzie face several opponents during the tournament, only two are given characterization:
    • Dieter Prohl, a German tennis player and Old Friend of Peter from previous tournaments and they end up facing each other. Peter worries the game might hurt their friendship, but Dieter doesn't hold a grudge even after losing badly.
    • Jake Hammond, Peter's final opponent, is the only to be given characterization. And to contrast to English underdog Peter, Hammond is an arrogant Amercian and the 1st ranked tennis player in the world.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Lizzie, indeed. It is stated by commentators that she has a reputation for arguing with chair umpires and the viewer is given an example of such during one of her matches.
  • The Power of Love: By the end of the movie, when Lizzie shows up at the finals after her definitive Love Epiphany, Peter is losing badly. But thanks to her presence, he get pumped up enough for an Heroic Second Wind and win.
  • Primal Scene: Peter comes home and starts to hear sex noises coming from a room. Imagining it's his brother Carl watching porn, he comes in and it's horrified to catch his parents on the act.
  • Really Gets Around: Lizzie has a very casual view on sex, and tells Peter she likes having sex before big matches to "relax". Hammond attempts Slut-Shaming her, but Peter punches him before he can even finish it.
  • Running Gag: People mistaking Peter as the once 17th ranked player in the world, while he keeps insisting he was 11th.
  • Sex Goddess: The movie in general has a few jokes about how the great stamina of tennis players makes them into Sex Gods, but Lizzie herself seems to prove it, as she brags about giving a "workout" to Peter and he feels utterly exhausted the next day after she kept him up all night.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: The scene always cuts away whenever Peter and Lizzie sleep together, coming back to them in bed or in an obvious state of disarray.
  • Shower of Awkward: Due to a room-key mix-up, Peter ends up accidentally walking in on Lizzie right as she's showering. However, she takes it rather calmly and just points him towards the exit.
  • Smooth-Talking Talent Agent: Ron, Peter's old agent dropped like a fly when he started losing, and tries to weasel his way back as if nothing happened once Peter starts winning again. Peter doesn't fall for his faux-friendly attitude.
  • Sports Dad: Lizzie's father Dennis disapproves of her relationship with Peter, or any other man really, because it will distract her from her career and deliberately attempts to sabotage their relationship to protect her. As it turns out, he's not totally wrong, as she does end up losing a game after staying up all night with Peter.
  • The Tease: Lizzie enjoys riling up Peter.
    [Lizzie and Peter are having a completion about hitting cans and Peter is getting ready to shoot]
    Lizzie: Hit this one, and I'll sleep with you.
    Peter: [suddenly trips and the ball hits an official]
    Lizzie: Too bad. You could've used the workout.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: Peter's tennis career has been going downwards for years and he's planning to make this his final Wimbledon, which he never managed to win before. Naturally, this new underdog status makes him perform better than ever and he ends up winning in the end.