“Because dinosaurs can’t play tennis.” – Billie Jean King
Battle of the Sexes tells the true story of Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs’ (Steve Carell) 1973 tennis match. This film takes on many issues that were central to that time period, as well as today.
There are so many things that this film aims to talk about throughout this film. First and foremost, the film aims to address the issues of Billie Jean Kings’ sexuality and her effort to propel women into bigger and better opportunities. Battle of the Sexes is basically a biography of Kings’ life around the 1973 match, with Riggs’ story taking a bit of a backseat. The acting and storytelling are well done. Both Stone and Carell bring justice in their portrayal of their characters. Because there is so much that this film aims to address, the storyline gets a little messy at times, but overall does a nice job of interweaving social statements and telling the grand story. What added so much to the story was the including of real footage from that time along with our fictional characters. The addition of this made the story continue to feel genuine and authentic.
I will say, this is not a film that will appeal to many to people. One instance, men may think of this movie as none other than a film that makes women superior and men bubbling idiots. But I will say, I never found that to be the problem. I hope that one day both men and women can lift each other up for gender equality, and by saying that, I never thought King was deliberately trying to find inequality where there was no real reason to think so. King is portrayed to have made a statement by having the number one women’s tennis player decide to not participate in a major tournament, and instead go and play in a smaller one. As previously stated, King’s sexuality is central to the story. But without giving away any spoilers, or information as to how this issue is addressed in this film, King’s sexuality is one that she wrestles with up until the last half of the movie.
Battle of the Sexes makes constant reference to issues that we are sadly still fighting with today. This film goes so far in capturing the relationships of these main characters against the backdrop of an epic tennis match.
Battle of the Sexes
Directed By: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Starring: Emma Stone and Steve Carrell