Incluvie Foundation Gala - Learn More

'Fair Play'(2023) and Feminine Rage

This thrilling film about feminine rage and male hostility is an incredible depiction of the fragility of the male ego.

Fair Play (2023)

3 / 5
4 / 5

Fair Play is the epitome of the modern depiction of feminine rage. Far too often in film, this rage is portrayed as a woman silently fuming, with a single tear rolling down her cheek. In reality, women do not sit idly by and keep their emotions bottled inside. Women can and often do scream, hurt, and rage at the people and things at the source of their suffering.

Despite society labelling women as soft, vulnerable, and weak, women have had to learn to be resilient to navigate a sexist world. This endurance is crucial to deal with a life of being told how to look, what to do, what not to do, and how to dress. Women also have to learn prioritization, and when to fight battles because over time there are just too many and it’s often easier to pick the ones that “matter most.”

In the face of inappropriate comments and actions from men, women have learned the art of pressing forward without creating a “scene.” Even in today’s workplace, women find themselves fighting to be regarded as equals to their male counterparts, yearning for a fraction of the respect automatically accorded to men. Fair Play skillfully captures this ongoing struggle, underscoring the stark reality that women must battle harder to attain the same goals as their male counterparts.

Emily (Phoebe Dynevor) is a woman in finance who finds herself in a tricky position after being promoted over her fiancé, Luke (Alden Ehrenreich). She is given the position he had assumed would be his. A monumental shift occurs in their relationship due to the new power dynamic, inevitably leading to its unraveling. Once she receives her promotion, Luke cannot wrap his head around the idea that she got this job simply because she is better than him. Instead, he convinces himself that she obtained the promotion by providing a sexual favor to their boss.

The finance world is already an inhospitable environment for women; her colleagues are constantly seizing opportunities to prove how useless she is. Now, on top of the stress of a new promotion and everything she has to endure from her peers, the person who is supposed to support her the most and root for her success is doing everything he can to tear her down and ruin her chances of achieving her goals.

When the audience is first introduced to Emily and Luke, there seems to be a lack of chemistry between the two actors. There are no sparks or sexual tension, and it appears as if they share a secret dislike for each other. However, as the film progresses, their dynamic begins to make more sense. On some level, these two characters harbor disdain for each other, and it becomes increasingly apparent as Emily excels in her new position. Initially, Luke appears to make an effort by providing thorough analyses for Emily, but soon he encourages her to make rash decisions, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in the stock market. It is at this moment that the audience realizes Emily is truly on her own and has lost all support from Luke.

Luke becomes erratic, making a fool of himself after begging their boss for a promotion, barging in on an important meeting Emily is leading, accusing her of inappropriate relations with coworkers in front of potential new clients, and eventually ceasing to come home. It is the perfect depiction of how fragile the male ego can be and how threatened men are by the success of women. While Luke’s actions may seem exaggerated and dramatized, it is essential to remember that director Chloe Domont used these emotionally charged scenes to evoke strong feelings in the viewer. You are supposed to feel the frustration, anger, and disbelief that Emily is experiencing in this situation. It is to immerse you in their world and convey the emotions women feel when faced with a similar dilemma.

While this film does an amazing job depicting feminine rage, it also illustrates how men have been groomed to believe that they are inherently superior, and when that illusion shatters, it reveals what they are capable of doing. It is incredibly satisfying to witness how Emily takes control of the situation, making Luke feel small and inferior, thereby asserting her dominance and superiority. Though an aggressive approach to problem-solving, it is undeniably fulfilling to see a woman employ tactics typically associated with men to finally assert herself and earn the respect she rightfully deserves.