Battle of the Sexes
- MPAA Rating:
- 121 mins
- Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough
- Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
- Danny Boyle, Christian Colson, Robert Graf
Content at a Glance
several kissing scenes between women; scenes of women lying in bed together; jump-cut editing creates suggestive, sexually-charged scenes between two women.
short tennis skirts; women in bras
The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.
“Battle of the Sexes” tells the story of how Billie Jean King, played convincingly by Emma Stone, contributed to the women’s liberation movement and grappled with her own sexuality amidst worldwide notoriety. She is portrayed as a level-headed tennis player—a fighter who was not afraid to stand up for what she believed to be right and true. Indeed, unlike today, in much of the Western world at that time, there was still not close attention paid to the 1963 Equal Pay Act, especially in an industry that was new to women and unorganized for that gender. Likewise, in 1973 there still existed a prevalence of misogyny in the workplace. Thanks to people like King, most women enjoy the privileges that come with laws protecting equal rights.
Steve Carell offers ongoing comic relief as Bobby Riggs, and it was fun to see how closely details matched the actual events and characters themselves. Carell wore fake teeth that made him the spitting image of Riggs, and the glasses and haircuts both characters donned enhanced the authenticity. Likewise, though Carell might have come off as a bit clownish at times, both he and Stone clearly had an intimate grasp on the persons they were portraying. King was especially a likeable and relatable character.
I appreciated, too, the lack of politics in the film, as the story was simply a faithful retelling of what occurred. The actual footage incorporated in the end was a nice way to legitimize the rest of the movie. Likewise, the final “Battle of the Sexes” in the form of the famous tennis match between the two was tense and exhilarating. It made me wonder why I stopped watching tennis all those years ago.
This movie does not earn the Dove-Approved seal.