More than just another sports film, “Battle of the Sexes” is an authentic depiction of the 1973 tennis match between female phenom Billie Jean King and former men’s world champion, Bobby Riggs.
Oscar-winning actress Emma Stone portrays King as she wins a world championship title, only to be challenged by the superfluous and self-proclaimed “male chauvinist pig,” Bobby Riggs, played by Steve Carell. As Riggs puts it, “women should serve their roles in the kitchen and in the bedroom,” but clearly not on the same court as men.
Stone is raw and honest as King, capturing the tennis legend’s determination, humor, and smart rhetoric. Pitted against the always exceptional Carell as her rival, the pair adequately demonstrates the back-and-forth tension apparent throughout the film.
The film manages to expertly juxtapose gender politics with LGBTQ+ issues in a little over two hours. King and fellow women’s players fight for equal pay as the married King strikes up an affair with a female hairdresser, played by Andrea Riseborough.
Moreover, the cinematography captivates, delivering a superb portrait of the events surrounding the match.
“Battle of the Sexes” is more than King’s calm determination pitted against Riggs’ showboating and inflated ego. It is man versus woman in an ultimate testament of gender equity in professional tennis. It’s a very prominent issue that still remains in the modern world of tennis, and it’s one that this film tackles with both reason and taste.