The true story of the 1973 tennis match between woman's champion
Billie Jean King and ex-champ and vocal male chauvinist Bobby Riggs.
Battle of the Sexes (2017)
Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Written by Simon Beaufoy
Starring Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough,
Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming,
Elisabeth Shue, Natalie Morales, Austin Stowell
The 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs was probably the most important tennis match of the 20th century. It was a landmark victory for women in sports and proved to chauvinists everywhere that women were just as strong and powerful as men. It seems like realizing that would be common sense, but you'd be surprised how many pigs out there still think women should be seen and not heard. In 1973, Billie Jean King went a long way towards giving women in sports a voice and a leader, and this entertaining film showcases it perfectly.
Emma Stone delivers a top notch performance as Billie Jean King, virtually disappearing into the role. Her chemistry with tennis rival Bobby Riggs (played to perfection by Steve Carell) is at the heart of the film, and together they have a great presence. This film shows how King fought to get equal pay for women in tennis, even going so far as to start her own tennis federation with the help of other female tennis pros. The match between her and Riggs was just the icing on the cake of an equality issue that has really yet to be addressed at the national level. Even today, women only make 70% of what a man makes for the same job. That's absolutely disgusting and it needs to stop. Films like this need to be seen so everybody remembers that this is a problem women have been fighting to resolve for far too long.
Battle of the Sexes is an entertaining, well-acted biopic that delivers a satisfying conclusion but also sidesteps some of the more interesting parts of its subjects' stories. The film touches on King's lesbian relationship with Marilyn Barnett, but never goes into any real detail of how she dealt with keeping that secret. I would've liked a more in-depth look at King's life outside of the glamorized match, but maybe that's for another film. Still, I enjoyed it.