Battle of the Sexes

2017-12-01 06:52
 

What it's about:

The electrifying 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs was billed as “Battle of the Sexes” and became the most watched televised sports event of all time.

What we thought:

Billie-Jean King’s battle with Bobby Riggs was bigger than tennis and so is this movie. It tells a touching love story, has strong leads and made me laugh more than once. It’s easy to see why this sports biopic has everyone talking and is an award hopeful.

Emma Stone carried this film so well that I really hope she gets an Oscar nomination and a lot more. She is so magnetic and compelling as Billie-Jean that I can’t imagine anyone else in the role. Her chemistry with Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs and Andrea Riseborough as Marilyn Barnett is so easy and believable. My favourite moment of the film was the moment where Marilyn and Billie-Jean interacted for the first time because their chemistry made the entire room stop chewing their popcorn and sipping their cooldrink, you could hear a pin drop and there wasn’t even a kiss, just eye contact. When their romance does get physical the heat between the pair is red-hot.

One thing that did bother me about how Marilyn and Billie-Jean’s relationship was portrayed is that it wasn’t totally accurate; it painted an idealised version of events that steered away from some famously controversial moments. But I think maybe that’s just the nature of a Hollywood retelling of events and it didn’t distract from the fact that this is a very well-made movie with a great lead.

Another highlight for me was the way that feminism was portrayed; it is a breath of fresh air because so often in cinema - which is dominated by the male white voice and it’s self-centred navel-gazing – women who stand up for equality are labelled as bitches or difficult to deal with. In this film Billie-Jean doesn’t back down for anyone and presents solid arguments that shut the men up no matter how much pushback they give her.

Steve Carrell’s performance was also worth noting because he made a character that was a self-proclaimed chauvinist pig very likeable and of course a large part of that is the script but I think there’s just something about Steve that makes him radiant on screen.

I think everyone should go watch this movie, it’s worth the price of a ticket or two and even though we all know who wins in the battle of the sexes the ending will still make you smile.

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