Borg vs McEnroe (2017)

Movie Title: Borg vs McEnroe

Year Released: 2017

Rated: R

Runtime: 1h 47min

Genre: Sports, Drama, Biopic

Director: Janus Metz Pedersen

Writer: Ronnie Sandahl

Starring: Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård, Tuva Novotny, Robert Emms

Review: It's the summer of 1980, and Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) is the top tennis player in the world, dominating the sport both on and off the court. A powerful and rigorously disciplined player, there is only one obstacle in his pursuit of a record-breaking fifth Wimbledon championship: the highly talented but ferociously abrasive young American John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf). With three days until the tournament begins, Borg trains religiously in his lavish Monaco home, aided by his coach and mentor Lennart (Stellan Skarsgård) and girlfriend Mariana (Tuva Novotny). Borg vs McEnroe does a fantastic job of exploring the psyches and personalities of these two enigmatic superstars. Gudnason is sensational in playing the intense, focused Borg to the point where you almost forget that this movie was made in 2017 and that there's an actor playing a character. LaBeouf also does a remarkable job playing the brash, argumentative McEnroe as he really sells the character with the same explosive personality one might see while watching an old John McEnroe highlight montage. While this is inherently a sports movie, the real story revolves around these two fierce tennis icons, their very different approaches to competition, and their transition from heated rivals to the best of friends. The emotional and psychological exploration into these two characters is captivating. While the movie drags a bit at points, the film culminates with the epic 1980 David vs. Goliath Wimbledon final. If you're unfamiliar with the outcome of that historic match, I suggest you watch this movie and let the film reveal the narrative for you. If you're well-versed in the history of the story, Borg vs McEnroe is still worth your time as both a riveting biopic; as well as an exciting sports drama.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Björn Borg is thanked in the end credits, but not John McEnroe. McEnroe has complained that the film-makers should have taken the time to involve him. He has also argued that they should have used the real footage of that famous Wimbledon tie-break in 1980 rather than recreating it with body doubles.


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