Movie Review - Match (2015)

Stephen Belber wrote a play that was on Broadway. It was about a queer, ballet instructor in New York City who is visited by a couple from Seattle wanting to interview him about his career and life.

Frank Langella played the dance teacher on Broadway and for his work he was nominated for a Tony Award back in 2004. Ten years later, Belber has adapted his own play. He directs this feature not with Langella but with Patrick Stewart in the Tony-nominated role.

Stewart plays Tobi who works at Juliard and runs a very disciplined ballet class. At the age of 60, he seems to be well-known, well-liked and well-respected at the school and the neighborhood in which he lives that is perhaps outside Manhattan. Yet, he has an overtly solitary and quiet existence. He avoids purposefully spending time with colleagues.

When the couple from Seattle visits, his seemingly quiet nature is ditched. Tobi becomes or transforms into a very lively, very talkative, very funny and very engaging version of himself. Once the interview begins, its like a flip is switched and Tobi's true personality is unleashed. He's charming and verbose, and he's practically non-stop. He's like a flood or a bit of a whirlwind.

Carla Gugino co-stars as Lisa. She says she wants to interview Tobi because she's doing a dissertation on the history of dance. She brings along her husband Mike, played by Matthew Lillard. Lisa is easy-going and very open to Tobi. Mike is clearly tough and resistant. He seems overly serious and suspicious.

Stewart is the standout performance here. He sucks all the oxygen out the room, but Gugino and Lillard hold their own. Gugino gets a sliver more amount of screen time than Lillard, but this might be Lillard's best role and performance that I've seen from him. He appears to be a very gruff and macho guy when in reality he's a hurt, little boy.

Belber's script is also a very interesting exploration of sexuality. It's also an even better exploration of responsibility, whether it's perceived or real. It's a great little dramatic struggle that push and pull you in powerful ways.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated R for language, sexual dialogue and some drug use.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 32 mins.


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