American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"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.
The movie stars Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst as tennis pros -- she a rising star, he a fading one. Lizzie Bradbury's greatness is ahead of her, but Peter Colt fears his is all behind. He was once ranked 11th in the world, is now down around 113 and falling. He gets a wild card berth at Wimbledon and vows that, win or lose, he'll retire from the pro circuit after this tournament.
The two players have parents representative of their respective civilizations. Lizzie's dad, Dennis (Sam Neill), is a hard-driving American control freak who has managed Lizzie's career since she was a child. Peter's parents (Bernard Hill and Eleanor Bron) are rich British eccentrics; his mother potters in the garden, and his father moves into the treehouse after a fight with his wife. Stop to consider how few movie sports heroes even have parents (some do not even seem of woman born).
Lizzie and Peter have a Meet Cute early in the film, when he is mistakenly given the key to her suite at the Dorchester. She is nude in the shower, but handles the situation with such composure that we wonder if she arranged for him to get the key, especially after, with admirable frankness, she asks him, "Where do you come down on the whole fooling-around-before-a-match issue?"