“Battle of the Sexes” stars Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, and Elisabeth Shue. Released on September 22, 2017, the film showcases the rivalry between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.
The film is directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who also directed Little Miss Sunshine and Ruby Sparks. There’s nothing like a good old sports movie to continue my movie-filled weekend. While I’m not a huge fan of tennis (Bowling and football are my go-to sports) nor am I familiar with the event the film is based on, I was pretty excited to see it because of the two main stars, with Stone coming off of last year’s Oscar-nominated film, La La Land, and Carell hoping to enter this year’s Oscar race with his portrayal as Bobby Riggs. Needless to say, it’s like any other sports biopic that we’ve experienced countless times, but it’s the type of sports biopic that’s heartwarming, thoughtful, and most of all, relevant.
The plot of the film is loosely based on the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, but it also focuses on the main players on and off the court. Each of them are fighting their own personal battles, with King (Stone) fighting for gender equality and Riggs (Carell) facing some family issues due to his gambling problem. One of the main things I love from watching biopics is seeing big-time celebrities being portrayed as human beings with real life issues. Watching this type of stuff makes me appreciate at what these people have accomplished, and Dayton and Faris did a marvelous job at paying respect to these accomplishments as well as delivering a thought-provoking and engaging biopic. The main cast did a great job with their performances, but it was actually both Stone and Carell who impressed me the most. Whether they’re on screen together or not, these two actors successfully brought their A-game on without attempting to outdo one another. I thought Steve Carell was an absolute blast to watch as Riggs. Yes, he comes off as somewhat of a jerk, but Carell’s talented sense of humor made me think of him as a lovable jerk. As for Stone, she successfully nailed her role as King. I couldn’t imagine someone else playing her because she almost looks exactly like her. As I said before, the film is relevant for one reason and one reason only. The film’s setting took place during the time where women were treated differently than men when it comes to tennis or any other sport. I believe that if it wasn’t for King and her fight for equality, we wouldn’t have any women playing basketball or baseball or whatever. This is one of those themes that must be handled with care without shoving it into our throats, and I thought this film handled it extremely well. I also thought the cinematography was pretty good, especially during the third act of the film.
Overall, with its strong cast, its thought-provoking messages, and the directors’ ability to mix in heart with comedy, “Battle of the Sexes” is a tremendous tribute to gender equality as well as being a relatable and entertaining sports biopic. It definitely looks like that Oscar season has officially begun. If you’re a fan of tennis or sports biopics in general, I would highly recommend it.