Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.
In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women's movement, the 1973 tennis match between women's world champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-men's-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world. As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. The fiercely private King was not only championing for equality, but also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, as her friendship with Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) developed. And Riggs, one of the first self-made media-age celebrities, wrestled with his gambling demons, at the expense of his family and wife Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue). Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms ... Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
In two Los Angeles scenes in a glass elevator, a logo for consulting company KPMG is clearly visible on a building in the background, in the center of the frame. KPMG was created in 1987, when KMG merged with Peat Marwick. The building, now called KPMG Tower, was constructed in 1983. See more »
Battle of the Sexes is an old fashioned, sensitive, crowd pleasing film that never feels outdated. The only downside is how fact & fiction portrayed in Battle of the Sexes almost feels like a documentary.
As I was watching Battle of the Sexes, a part of me felt ashamed that attitudes towards women sports, equal pay and rights haven't made giant steps since 1973.
From the opening frames, Billy Jean King (beautifully played by Emma Stone) is fighting against US Lawn Tennis Association for equal pay; men's single prize money is $12,000 and women's single prize money is $1,200. Billy is asking for equal pay but the male bosses reject her plea; they believe the men's tennis has bigger names, higher quality and draws bigger crowds despite woman's tennis games drawing the same crowds.
Battle of the Sexes isn't about tennis but the universal fight to be freed from the shackles of outdated societal values.
Directors Valerie Faris & Johnathan Dayton and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy use the well-worn underdog, sports template to winning effect; repellent villains, training montages, back room deals and typical last-minute setbacks are knowingly included (although this did happen in real life). Despite the sport movie clichés, the filmmakers manage to find space for moments of real sensitivity; Billy Jean's self-exploration or Bobby consoling his wife, the tension is felt on both sides.
Considering how many high-profile male politicians and public figures have been rightly criticised for their attitude towards women, the film could've taken the easy step to make bobby Riggs a real chauvinistic monster. Credit to Carell and Beaufoy for not descending Riggs into a caricature; he's clown, showman and compulsive gambler who you may perversely believe that he helped Women's Tennis Association in stature.
From the 16mm film stock, the sun-dried visuals and music choices; this is a wonderfully romantic film, embracing love in every form and wearing its modern-day parable with pride. Despite BOTS relevant themes, this never feels preachy or one-note while becoming an incredibly entertaining movie.
Whether you are voting yes or no in the current plebiscite, I have no doubt anyone watching Battle of the Sexes will be air punching their way to the end and hopefully feel the need to change the world. That's what great entertainment can do; make people unaware they're embracing an disagreeable ideal without realizing it.
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