Tribeca Review: Match

Patrick Stewart, Carla Gugino and Matthew Lillard star in Match, the Tony-nominated -play- turned-feature-film, written and directed by Stephen Belber. The film tells the tale of a married couple who travel to New York to interview a choreographer for a dissertation on dance. Seeing as the story was set for the stage, a greater part of the story takes place within the confines of Tobi’s apartment, but Belber makes it work on film, with an outstanding cast and some intimate close-ups.

The story opens to a socially awkward and insanely charming Patrick Stewart as Tobi, an accomplished dancer who has turned to teaching at one of New York’s most prestigious dance schools. Right from the start, we know Tobi is not just any man; he is fantastically honest, quirky, charming, and downright adorable. He is clearly thrilled at having been asked to be interviewed; he nervously prepares for his guest by requesting party mix “to nibble on” at his local diner.

Soon, Carla Gugino and Matthew Lillard arrive as the polar-opposite married couple; she is sweet and warm, while he plays hard and cool. The plot soon progresses as Tobi tries and fails to make his long story short and discusses his years in the dancing community. However, it appears that all is not what it seems when the couple begins to grill him continually on a particular part of his past.

Deep resentment, polite laughs, and outrageous tales are shared between these apparent strangers, and Belber digs in to investigate human behavior in all its awkwardness. The eccentricities of people’s character, the importance we place on certain relationships, and the dismissive nature we have towards one another are all on the table in this quiet comedy-drama. The small and impressive cast investigates all the highs and lows of human behavior with beautiful subtlety. Our failed attempts at reading body language, the impressions we can leave on people with only a single action, and the way the physical world may not change, however, just one day can transform a person.

—Sinann Fetherston (B)

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