1980. Bjorn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) is the number one ranked 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).
Great first half, disappointing second
- Borg vs. McEnroe review by JR
There is a scene near the beginning of the film where we see Borg shirtless on his high rise balcony overllooking the Mediterranean in Monaco and he's leaning on the railing and he leans further and further over and we see his muscles tense - is he testing his strength or is he contemplating jumping? The primary interest of the film's Swedish makers is the enigmatic Borg, and through multiple flashbacks we learn about his dysfunctional family, the bad behaviour and uncontrollable rages all through his teens. Labbe Bergelin (the excellent Stellan Skarsgard) , the Swedish Davis Cup coach becomes Borg's coach and substitute father, and channels Borg's anger and psychological problems into his game. Sverrir Gudnasson's performance as Borg is completely convincing , especially as he bears an uncanny resemblance to Borg. However, Shia LaBeouf's McEnroe is sketchy and resorts to the Superbrat stereotype. It doesn't help that LeBeouf bears absolutely no resemblance to McEnroe, relying on a dodgy wig (there are rather a lot of them in the film!) to try to convince the audience. The final Wimbledon show down does not convince and goes on for too long. It would have benefited from the addition of original footage .
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful.
Excellent sports film.
- Borg vs. McEnroe review by CS
An interesting and sensitive exploration of Borg's struggles off and occasionally on the court, revolving around his first showdown with McEnroe. The film is well edited, with good use of flashbacks, and builds tension effectively. While the figure of Borg is presented with more nuance than that of McEnroe, this is still an entertaining sports pic that ultimately stimulates sympathy for both characters. Brought back memories of the original match, and myself and family thoroughly enjoyed it.
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
The best film ever made about tennis
- Borg vs. McEnroe review by PV
I loved this film. I remember watching the match - Wimbledon 1980 men's single final - as a kid on our black and white TV, and it really was as nail-biting and exciting as it's shown here.
Most movies about sport just do not work - the awful 'Wimbledon' is an example, and who can ever forget 'Escape to Victory'?
But this works as a film about 2 huge characters and the psychological backstory of Bjorn Borg especially was fascinating - and I see he was involved in the movie's production, and McEnroe wasn't.