Fairplay (2023) review: Intense performances carry this weighty thriller

Fairplay (2023) is an erotic thriller revolving around a couple whose relationship is in jeopardy after one of them gains a promotion where they both work. The film is streaming on Netflix.


Luke and Emily are madly in love with each other and Luke proposes to Emily at his brother’s reception. They both work as analysts in the same hedge fund and keep their relationship a secret as it is against company policy.

When a senior position is up for grabs, Emily is promoted making her Luke’s direct supervisor. Luke insists that this dynamic won’t be a problem but it slowly eats away at him and he isn’t able to reconcile that she got the promotion over him.

He slowly shows his true colors as Emily is tired of trying to help and is forced to push back at his negative behavior that derails their engagement.


Phoebe Dynevor is a superstar in this film, in a role markedly different from her most iconic role in Bridgerton, and yet very similar in character archetypes. Emily is a talented and hard-working woman who has overcome so much to get where she is, only to be undercut by the man she was in love with.

Dynevor is stunning with the responsibility she is given and her turn opposite her co-star and nothing short of spectacular.

Alden Ehrenreich’s performance is subtle and equally impressive. His devolution from a loving partner to a vindictive, entitled misogynist is gradual and the way he embraces the part is utterly convincing.

A quick shout-out to Eddie Marsan who has a minor role and looks like he barely cares in a role where phoning it in makes it all the more authentic.


Fairplay does a great job of depicting a toxic relationship, or how one can easily become toxic with a change in dynamic. There are subtle hints, and there are more obvious moments and both are equally effective in setting the tone.

Chloe Domontn does well to highlight the predominantly masculine world of finance and the difficulties that women usually face in that space. She still manages to craft a strong female character who doesn’t back down from the challenges put before her.

In fact, the two leading characters are perfect examples of how people are not black and white, but shades of gray. While Emily is the default protagonist, there are moments where she isn’t shown in the best light but it makes sense given the context.

Even Luke’s arc is written well and it shows how you can never truly know someone until adversity strikes, which is a troubling and true notion at the same time.


Since this is credited as an erotic thriller, there are several scenes of the lead characters getting it on, but they don’t often have any impact on the narrative and feel gratuitous. It’s only some of the later scenes that truly have particular significance.

The escalation of their relationship isn’t always linear and that can be confusing at times, even if the performances accompanying the escalation are spot on.

The world of finance is a risk-heavy occupation but making it look interesting on screen requires some skill which is unfortunately lacking her. Those are some of the weakest sequences throughout the film.


Fairplay (2023) is a great film within a genre that is not everyone’s cup of tea. The lead co-stars have electric chemistry together and that extends to the more adversarial moments between them. The film can get a little dull at times and there are certainly some pacing issues but overall, Fairplay is an insightful look at troublesome relationships and the very topic of women in the professional world.

Fairplay (2023) review: Intense performances carry this weighty thriller 1

Director: Chloe Domont

Date Created: 2023-10-06 12:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: Fairplay (2023) summary and ending explained

More from The Envoy Web