(4 / 5)
The big moments in history are made when someone decides to fight for what they whole heartily believe in despite what years of thinking beforehand and society is structured against them. Battle of the Sexes tells the story of one of these fights, about women tennis players that are professionals yet get one eighth of the pay the men get. So our main character, Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) makes a stand. However there is a man named Bobby Briggs (Steve Carell) that is out to poke fun at her cause because it means it will lead to fun and profit.
Billie Jean King is a simple and reasonable person that understands that her situation is wrong and is willing to fight for equality. Few female actors are as likable as Emma Stone and she brings all her charm and focus to this role. On the opposite is Bobby Riggs, who calls himself “Male Chauvinist Pig” and spouts all kinds of inappropriate and offensive dialog towards the opposite sex. What makes this characterization more interesting than if they portrayed this mindset as genuine is that it is clearly a show. Briggs is clearly putting on an act for the cameras to stir press and make a few bucks, he is a gambling addict and needs to feel the spark of life, as well as that he is obviously a very good tennis player.
Accompanying the two stars are also some very well cast and performed supporting roles. There is Sarah Silverman Gladys Heldman, their chain-smoking, sharp-tongued manager. Andrea Riseborough as Marilyn Barnett, Billie’s hairdresser and lover. Bill Pullman is Jack Kramer, head of the tennis association that doesn’t believe the women players attract a big enough crowd so doesn’t pay them as much. Alan Cummings, whose always entertaining plays Ted Tinling, the tailor of the women’s uniform and clearly gay. All these actors (as well as others) perform their roles well and have a solid moment
To compliment the time its set the movie takes on a retro look. There are bright, vivid colors placed among a few pastels that really make them pop. That, as well as the grainy film look gives the movie a unique visual texture.
I knew this was based on a real story but I didn’t not know the outcome of the real match that it was building up to. When the match started and one scored and then another did I was genuinely invested. The outcome probably won’t surprise you but during the playing you have come to know the characters and understand why each of them is playing this game and whats at stake.
For a sports movie it really takes it’s time in letting the plot unfold and has no need to play at a fast passe. It is well constructed, acted and reminds us not to take where we are now for granted. There are still things to correct in terms of acceptance of people of different sexes and sexuality but we have come a long way since the events of the movie. Time to keep moving forward.
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