The relationship between two hedge fund managers is affected when one gets a promotion in Fair Play. For the past two years, Emily (Phoebe Dynevor) has been in a relationship with Luke (Alden Ehrenreich), her coworker at the Wall Street firm One Crest Capital, which they must keep secret due to it being against company policy. Things are looking up for the couple when Luke spontaneously proposes to Emily and Emily overhears at work that Luke is possibly in line for a recently opened portfolio manager position. However, Emily is told by her boss Campbell (Eddie Marsan) during a late-night bar meeting that she will be the one getting the promotion. With Luke now working under Emily as her analyst, the relationship between the couple begins to sour.
Fair Play Synopsis
Fair Play is the debut feature from writer and director Chloe Domont. The film stars Phoebe Dynevor (Bridgerton) as Emily, who ends up getting the hedge fund portfolio manager role that was being coveted by her new fiance Luke, played by Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story). Not only does Emily become much more strict with Luke as his boss, but she is also expected to spend late nights at bars with Campbell and the other portfolio managers Paul (Rich Sommer) and Rory (Sebastian De Souza). All the while, Luke hears whispers from his co-workers about how Emily ended up receiving her promotion, which leads to a growing disdain.
My Thoughts on Fair Play
On its surface, Fair Play can be considered to be an erotic thriller, however, Chloe Domont has directed a film about toxic masculinity in both relationships and the workplace that cannot be pigeonholed into a single subgenre. Domont makes an interesting casting choice with Alden Ehrenreich, who has typically been known for playing relatively charming characters in films such as Hail, Caesar! and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Indeed, when the film stars, Ehrenreich's character of Luke and Phoebe Dynevor's Emily seem to be a happy live-in couple, despite the fact that they have to keep the relationship a secret at the office.
Both Emily and Luke undergo personality changes after the former's promotion. Emily becomes a lot more stern and strict in order to fit in with the boy's club at the office, while Luke becomes more disdainful towards his partner, coming to the belief that she slept her way to the promotion. This leads to the relationship between the two becoming increasingly toxic, leading to an eventual blowup.
Thanks to ingrained power dynamics and gender expectations that still exist, Fair Play proves that even a supposedly caring and nice guy like Luke can turn into a misogynistic jerk when his masculinity feels threatened. As Fair Play is told primarily from Emily's perspective, we know from the start that there was no real ulterior reason for her promotion, other than she impressed her boss and earned it. This makes it all the more painful and Luke's relationship with Emily grows more toxic over the course of the film. This all leads to an ending to the film that can be analyzed from multiple different angles.