Battle of the Sexes (2017)


Battle of the Sexes

You know what’s funny? Both Emma Stone and Steve Carell have been around forever, but it’s not until recently where they started getting high plaudits for their performance. Not a tennis fan but I could always do a biopic especially one with a great cast. The film is a thrilling dramedy about an event that’s fairly relevant even today. We know the result but it’s still a joy watching the steps to getting there.

The film is about Billie Jean King, a high ranked tennis player recently ejected from the league because she stood up for equal pay for women competitors. A gambling man and also fellow player Bobby Riggs challenges her to a tennis match. Riggs is quite the showboater, using denigrating and sexist remarks to sell the fight. The film also shows how Billie Jean King was an early feminist and struggled with homosexuality, thus leading to her celebrated status as a gay icon.

I don’t always love sports films. Some I can stomach, others are tune out films. This one was built incredibly well. First of all, this film features very strong  Carell and Stone performances, arguably the best of each of their careers. Stone completely embodies King and becomes her character. The film offers a visually authentic representation of the early 70’s and the costume and set design complements the time period well. The film uses comedy and the situation of the time and characters well to build up to the glorious tennis battle.

The film is quite clearly a representation of the issues we still deal with today. I don’t know how accurate the events and the commentaries expressed in the film are (I tend to think its a close representation) but they mirror issues of the modern day. This is a strong feminist biographical film and on top of that it also deals with LGBTQ issues. No surprise that Billie Jean King became a feminist and LGBTQ icon as a sports star. Its still early days but this may be up there for acting performances at the Oscars at the end of the year. Its easily the most unique and challenging performance Emma Stone has had to do.



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