Battle of the Sexes
BATTLE OF THE SEXES (12)
D: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
Fox Searchlight/Decibel/Cloud Eight (Christian Colson, Danny Boyle & Robert Graf)
UK/USA 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 2017
W: Simon Beaufoy
DP: Linus Sandgren
Ed: Pamela Martin
Mus: Nicholas Britell
Emma Stone (Billie Jean King), Steve Carell (Bobby Riggs), Andrea Riseborough (Marilyn Barnett), Sarah Silverman (Gladys Heldman), Bill Pullman (Jack Kramer), Alan Cumming (Ted Tinling)
This story was previously screened as a television movie in 2001, starring Holly Hunter & Ron Silver, and despite having budgetary restrictions, it presented a much better version of the story than this bigger budget film does.
Released in a year when disparity between gender pay was under scrutiny, it probably made good business sense to revisit this true story from the 1970's, where the world number 1 female tennis player Billie Jean King faced Bobby Riggs in what was meant to be an exhibition match to showcase the superiority of the men's game. The match was of huge importance to King, who had been campaigning for equal prize money for many years leading up to the match and it won't come as a surprise who won the actual match.
Unfortunately, this film pays more attention to the politics than the match itself, and despite very good performances from both Emma Stone and Steve Carell, it feels like little more than a preachy sermon on modern social justice issues and how chauvinistic men were in the 1970's, rather than promoting equality in sports & entertainment.