- Director: Jonathan Dayton; Valerie Faris
- Writer: Simon Beaufoy
- Producer: Danny Boyle; Christian Colson
Is it a tennis film? Or, is it a Billie-Jean King behind-the-scenes bio-pic sort of film? It's a bit of both...where seriousness gets lost in a pedestrian, more comedic than it should've been, screenplay.
Yes...it is an entertaining and topical film...but, at what expense? The Battle of the Sexes was a media circus helmed by the contemptible, publicity-seeking, money-hungry Bobby Riggs. Steve Carrell's portrayal does him no favours...but, does paint him with a lighter brush than he [possibly] deserved. Emma Stone does a convincing job...in a watered-down, often-distracted, version of events.
If you really want a film that examines sexism and discrimination [in sport], you will have to look a little further...otherwise, as an introduction to this ludicrous event...it serves its purpose.
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 and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today.