Netflix Psychological Thriller Unravels A Mystery With Major Stars

By Shanna Mathews-Mendez | Updated

At face value, Fair Play feels like a classic crime thriller from the 90s. Think of Sleeping with the Enemy or Basic Instinct. But then you have to flip this story on its head because it is a film that could only be made today, only in today’s world, and only by a woman who completely owns what it is to be a modern woman in an all male industry. 

A Secret Romance In Fair Play

Fair Play 2023

Fair Play is the directorial debut of Chloe Domont, who also wrote the script. The film was first viewed at Sundance and then entered a bidding war among at least seven film companies, finally going to Netflix for a reported $20 million. 

Phoebe Dynevor (Bridgerton) plays Emily, a smart, empowered, young woman who has done all the right things to speed through her career and into her position as an analyst at her Manhattan hedge fund, One Crest Capital. Fair Play opens on Emily in a passionate encounter with her boyfriend, Luke (Alden Ehrenreich of Solo: A Star Wars Story), who is also her coworker and fellow analyst. Their relationship must be kept secret because of the company’s strict policy against interoffice engagements. 

An Unexpected Promotion

Fair Play 2023

A good amount of time in the beginning of Fair Play is spent on these sensual hours between Emily and Luke, their sneaky and wild encounter in a restaurant bathroom, and ultimately his proposal of marriage to her right there in the bathroom. She hesitates for just a second and then joyfully accepts. They go back to their shared apartment and fall into bed together, only to rise and go separate ways so they can arrive at the office without raising suspicions.

The next day, Emily overhears a talk that makes her think Luke will be promoted to replace the recently fired portfolio manager and she tells him about it later at home. He’s thrilled, and she’s unabashedly happy for him. They celebrate, and she gets a call from their boss late that night to meet at a local bar.

Luke urges her to stay home, but Emily goes. There, she meets the CEO, Campbell, played by the typically wicked Eddie Marsan. He offers her the promotion, and she now has to go home and tell Luke. After all, it’s fair play.

A Downward Spiral

Fair Play 2023

From the very beginning of Fair Play, Luke does not display the same amount of happiness for Emily that she displayed for him, and the drama unravels at a rapid pace from there. Emily settles into her new job only to find that Luke is not well-liked in the firm, and indeed, that Campbell is planning to get rid of him. She puts her neck on the line, against her better judgment, to support him and help him continue to make progress at work. Meanwhile, Luke continues to spiral downward in desperation and madness, tortured over the fact that his girlfriend was promoted over him. 

Male Fragility Called Into Question

Fair Play 2023

It is such an utterly pathetic display of toxic masculinity, but what’s so great about Fair Play is that none of the other men in the film seem to suffer from this same fragility. They stand by Emily’s promotion, accepting her as one of the team, and they support her moves. In this way, Domont is able to shine a light on the issues women must deal with whenever an overinflated male ego is harmed while at the same time agreeing that, no, “not all men.” 

Stream Fair Play On Netflix

Fair Play 2023


You have to watch this spectacular film to see how it all comes together, falls apart, and comes together again in the most deliciously despicable and delightful ways. Fair Play kept on at the edge of my seat before making me stand up and cheer at the end. You can stream the title on Netflix, but make sure the kids are off to bed before you do.