Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Battle of the Sexes

Tonight I saw Battle of the Sexes, starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell.

I've never cared for watching tennis, but this film drew me into the excitement of it—at least for a real-life match that took place two years before I was born.

The 1973 exhibition match, dubbed "The Battle of the Sexes," was between famed female star Billie Jean King (Stone) and aging has-been Bobby Riggs (Carrell). King was 29 and Riggs was 55. Everyone was sure he'd win.

The story begins as King fights for wage equality for female tennis players. Losing that battle, she founds the Women's Tennis Association and takes with her the greatest players of the era. In the midst of their new fame, King is challenged to a match by Riggs and reluctantly agrees.

The film chronicles the lead up to and playing of the game, also focusing on the personal lives of Riggs and King—who both had troubled marriages. His for his gambling addiction; hers for the lesbian lover she's taken, though she genuinely loves her husband too.

Carrell is campy and obnoxious like the real Riggs, and Stone stays true to the mannerisms of the real-life King, bringing an endearing focus to the domestic side of her.

Supporting players like Sarah Silverman and Elisabeth Shue are a welcome addition to the mix, which is thoroughly entertaining throughout.

A solid film, with the women's fight for equal rights unfortunately still timely though the match happened over 40 years ago.


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