|Directed by||Richard Loncraine|
|Produced by||Tim Bevan
|Written by||Adam Brooks
|Music by||Edward Shearmur|
|Editing by||Humphrey Dixon|
Working Title Films
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||98 minutes|
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 tennis star named Lizzie Bradbury (played by Kirsten Dunst) during the Wimbledon Championships.
The film is dedicated to Mark McCormack, who died on 16 May 2003 after suffering cardiac arrest four months earlier.
Peter Colt (Paul Bettany), an English professional tennis player in his thirties whose ranking has slipped from 11th to 119th in the world, considers that he never really had to fight for anything as his wealthy, but not close, family easily put him through studies and allowed him to pursue his tennis ambitions. He bravely exchanges jokes with his German sparring partner Dieter Prohl (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who is in a similar position. Though he earns a wildcard spot to the Wimbledon tournament, but internally feels that it's time to admit he's getting too old to compete with fitter coming men (or boys) and intends, after this last Wimbledon, to take a job with the prestigious tennis club instead.
However, as Wimbledon begins, by accident, he bumps into Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst), the American rising star of female tennis, falls in love with her and finds her interest in him changes his entire perception, even gives him the strength to win again. As their love grows, Peter's game becomes better and better, but her game starts worsening as she spends too much time with Peter, ignoring her practice and tiredness. However, her overprotective father-manager Dennis Bradbury (Sam Neill) proves 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.
Both of them play several games with different opponents and win. But without Lizzie’s support, Peter's confidence and concentration start to shake. Lizzie reaches the semi-finals while Peter also manages to reach the semi-finals but with difficulty. The night before their semi-final games, Peter sneaks into Lizzie’s hotel room and persuades her to have sex. Initially, she denies as she requires more rest and sleep for her semi-final game next morning, but later on agrees to. Next day, he performs quite well and wins his semi-final match in straight sets, whilst Lizzie loses her match due to lack of sleep and losing her focus after her night with Peter. Lizzie gets upset and breaks their relationship while accusing his madness and last-night greed for sex as cause for loss of her match, her dreams and perhaps her career too. She leaves before he can say or explain anything and decides to immediately return to the USA.
Peter has to play the final match against Jake Hammond (Austin Nichols), an arrogant American star who Peter has already had an argument with involving Lizzie, but finds himself outclassed. At the airport, Lizzie watches an interview on TV in which Peter apologizes to her and declares his love for her openly. She drops her idea to go home, and comes back to Wimbledon.
Before Lizzie reaches the stadium, Peter has already lost two sets and is running behind in the third one due to the fast and forceful tricky serves by Jake. He has lost all of his focus due to the breakup with Lizzie. Before the game is interrupted by rain, his back muscles get stressed and he has started thinking about quitting the game rather than face a sure defeat. Suddenly, Lizzie comes to him in the dressing room and tells him that she has forgiven him, and prepares him to play and face the fate rather than quit. She tells him the secret about Jake’s tricky serves. With Lizzie cheering him on, Peter makes a recovery in the game and wins the title (3–6, 2–6, 6–4, 7–6(8–6), 6–4) with a diving volley. After the game he retires from tennis. He and Lizzie get married, and 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.
- Paul Bettany as Peter Colt
- Kirsten Dunst as Lizzie Bradbury
- James McAvoy as Carl Colt
- Bernard Hill as Edward Colt
- Eleanor Bron as Augusta Colt
- Celia Imrie as Mrs Kenwood
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Dieter Prohl
- Sam Neill as Dennis Bradbury
- Austin Nichols as Jake Hammond
- Kirsten Taylor Montjoy Hunter as Elizabeth Hammond
- Jon Favreau as Ron Roth
- Jonathan Timmins as The Ballboy
- Robert Lindsay as Ian Frazier
- Martin Wimbush as Court Official
- Real tennis professionals on set
- Vikas Punna as Ajay Bhatt
- Beti Sekulovski as Lizzie's first opponent
- Murphy Jensen as Ivan Dragomir
- Alun Jones as Tom Cavendish
- Rebecca Dandeniya as Arliyia Rupesindhe
- John McEnroe as Himself/Commentator
- Chris Evert as Herself/Commentator
- Mary Carillo as Herself/Commentator
- John Barrett as Himself/Commentator
- Pat Cash was the tennis adviser on set and trained the actors.
The actors served with real tennis balls. All others were added digitally to make it appear like they were serving.
The film used locally recruited Wimbledon residents as extras.
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.
Some scenes were filmed during the Championships in 2003 between matches. It is the only time in the history of the tournament that this has been allowed.
The London Zoo's entrance was used for the entrance to Wimbledon.
The beachfront scenes were filmed on location in Brighton.
Wimbledon received generally positive reviews, with a 61% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 143 reviews. It received "average" of "mixed" reviews from Metacritic, which was a 59 point rating out of 100.
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 movie three out of four stars.
The film opened at #4 making US$7.1 million in its opening weekend in the North American box office.
The film's digital soundtrack uses the "Surround EX" format, the same track format used for the Star Wars prequels and The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The song that plays in the trailer of the film is "Everlasting Love" by U2.
- "Movie History". Stoke Park. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- Holden, Stephen (17 September 2004). "Learning to Win at Love With a Center Court Rally". The New York Times.