“Fair Play,” Chloe Domont’s directorial debut, delves into the deteriorating relationship between two coworkers at a financial firm, Emily (Phoebe Dynevor) and Luke (Alden Ehrenreich), who are engaged. Rather than celebrating their engagement and planning their wedding, they find themselves constantly tearing each other down. The turning point comes when Emily receives a promotion at the company, a position Luke had expected. As Emily excels in her new role, Luke seeks recognition, leading to a growing power imbalance that strains their ability to support each other. The film culminates in a violent and harrowing conclusion, highlighting the toxic nature of their relationship.
Luke’s behavior escalates, culminating in a public outburst during an important meeting, where he accuses Emily of impropriety at the firm. This incident tarnishes Emily’s professional reputation. At their engagement party, what should have been a celebration of love turns into a disastrous confrontation. Luke accuses Emily of using her relationships to advance professionally, undermining her hard-earned success.
The conflict intensifies in the bathroom, where their argument turns physically aggressive. The once passionate romance has now turned into a disturbing encounter, culminating in sexual assault. The following day, Emily conceals her injuries and concocts a story to protect her position at the company. This interaction with her boss exposes the ruthless reality of the corporate world, where careers can be jeopardized in an instant.
As Emily observes a new employee assuming Luke’s previous role, she reflects on the challenges women face in a male-dominated industry. The power imbalance is evident, suggesting that this new colleague may face similar hurdles.
Returning home, Emily confronts Luke, who seems oblivious and unapologetic for his actions. The ensuing confrontation becomes violent, leading Emily to defend herself with a knife. The brutal altercation forces Luke to acknowledge the harm he inflicted. In the end, Emily commands him to clean up the aftermath.
“Fair Play” serves as a visceral exploration of societal issues, particularly the challenges faced by women in male-dominated professional environments. The film prompts reflection on the power dynamics that often hinder fulfilling relationships, especially when women are professionally accomplished. It sheds light on how judgments based on gender roles persist, even when reversed. Ultimately, the film underscores how the conflict between work and love can become destructive rather than complementary.