Fair Play (2023) Movie Review – Well-crafted commentary on gender inequality in the workplace

A well-crafted commentary on gender inequality in the workplace

Fair Play is the latest office drama that amps up the suspense and includes psychological mind games to stand out from the tons of Wall Street tropes. Directed by Chloe Domont, Fair Play is an R-rated thriller starring Phoebe Dynevor of Bridgerton fame and Alden Ehrenreich who successfully filled some big shoes in Solo: A Star Wars Story.

The two play Emily and Luke, a happily but secretly engaged couple working in the same finance firm. However, a miscommunication makes Luke disappointed when he believes that a promotion meant for him is given to Emily after she has a drink with their boss. While he is supportive, their relationship starts unravelling as Emily feels guilty and tries to help him while rumours of her sleeping around make Luke jealous.

Now, you may be wondering if this film is for you even if you are not interested in corporate subjects. Well, this is where Fair Play excels as it turns it into an exciting, stressful watch that will have viewers following the characters’ journeys, trying to predict their next move rather than worrying about corporate lingo, stocks and percentages.

Playing with the characters’ psyches, there is clever blocking as we always see them from the back when the situation is dire, making us feel disjointed and anxious like the character. Some of the moments are over the top, but Dynevor and Ehrenreich are committed. They portray Emily and Luke convincingly as extremely flawed people who love hard but hate harder. 

Fair Play starts as a whirlwind romance but as the drama unfolds, viewers will either be Team Luke or Team Emily. Both come off as great green flags and then it goes all so deliciously wrong so fast. From the first minute, the movie goes off at full throttle as it translates the high energy of a finance workplace onto the screen. It has the editing structure of an action movie but with a substantial plot that makes viewers want to see it to the end.

It may alienate the younger audience who may wonder if the corporate world is really this cutthroat. But yes kids, it is, relationships have been ruined because of work. Having said that, Fair Play falls in a very niche area and only those from the same world may actually be able to enjoy the film as the whole story revolves around office politics, jealousy and betrayal. 

However, Fair Play is more than that. It also exposes the brutal truth about women in the workplace. It is a commentary on gender inequality, expectations and prejudice. The same Luke who is extremely supportive of Emily, starts doubting her and starts thinking the exact same things the others are – that she slept to the top.

Brilliantly done by Ehrenreich by the way, as viewers slowly start to see Luke’s strain. He keeps it subtle, making us wonder what is going on in Luke’s head. Some of his points are valid, but he doesn’t understand where Emily is coming from, the way everyone is waiting for her to make one mistake and blame it on her gender. 

It starts with only Emily’s POV but as she gets promoted, viewers start seeing Luke’s side too, his cool calm demeanour slowly cracking, just like hers. Yep, Emily is yet another grey character that adds to their downfall, she is not holier than thou. She isn’t assertive, in trying to include Luke, she messes it up for herself, and she also doesn’t realise that she is overstepping by trying to help.

However, the ending while satisfying, doesn’t feel complete, because there’s a lack of sincerity which while staying on brand for the characters, can be frustrating. There is no growth for either of them, no justice and no change. Both Luke and Emily are back where they started, mentally.

But if viewers take a step back and take a look at what Fair Play is trying to achieve, it can be considered a fun watch. The suspense and mystery keep the viewers on their toes while the stakes keep increasing. And from rooting for the couple romantically, one may end up hoping that they simply make it out alive. Fair Play is full of mind games and plot twists that reach a delectable crescendo but unfortunately, the ending falls flat.

Read More: Fair Play Ending Explained


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  • Verdict - 6/10
    6/10
6/10

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