Writer: Simon Beaufoy (Screenplay)
Starring: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Natalie Morales, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming
Plot: The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.
Tagline – He made a bet. She made history.
Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Great Look at History Making
Story: Battle of the Sexes starts when women’s tennis champion Billie Jean King (Stone) decides to boycott the Lawn Association Tournaments run by Jack Kramer (Pullman) who isn’t offering equal pay to the women’s games to start her own tournament for the women. Bobby Riggs (Carell) a former grand-slam winner has been dealing with his gambling addiction which is costing him his marriage.
When Billie Jean’s tournaments start taking off, they are excluding from the Grand Slam events, Bobby Riggs comes up with the idea to challenge Billie Jean to an exhibition game which would get the press interested in both the players, putting the spotlight on the women players in the way they deserve.
Thoughts on Battle of the Sexes
Characters – The characters here are based on the real people, I have no idea how accurate they are. Billie Jean King is the number one tennis player in the world, she wants to earn the same prize money as the men and after not getting it she starts her own competition for the women in the game and beating Bobby would change everything for her, off the court she is dealing with her own feelings towards another woman despite being happily married. Bobby Riggs is a hustler and former grand-slam winner, he has a gambling problem which has cost him his marriage and has come up with an idea to challenge one of the top women’s players, defeating the current number one, Billie Jean steps up with the press turning the match into major deal. Bobby does play this like the exhibition that it was, knowing he is taking the bad guy role in this game, not truly caring about the outcome, more focused on the show around it. Marilyn is a hairdresser that does start an affair with Billie Jean, her role leaves Billie losing part of her game being involved in what was considered a forbidden romance. Rosie is one of the women players that joins Billie in her new league, one of many that just wants to be treated equal.
Performances – Emma Stone and Steve Carell are both fantastic in the leading roles, we see just how much Emma makes Billie look like a player that wants to change the game, while Carell makes us love to hate his cocky arrogant player. Elsewhere in the cast we have strong performance throughout the film without taking the shine of the performances of the leading pair.
Story – The story follows the real events leading up to one of the most watch games of tennis in history. We get to look at how Billie Jean lead the change in tennis for equality within the game which should be front and centre of the story. We do get to see how both Billie and Bobby have personal problems with relationships which were being explored at the time. The big and most entertaining part of the story comes from seeing the build up to the big game, where Bobby is playing into the press more than anything. The slightly confusing part of the whole story comes from wondering if Bobby knew what he was doing and whether he was actually supporting the women’s game, the film shows him making it a show for the cameras, which could see him trying to bring them to the forefront of the conversation rather than just being somebody trying to put them down.
Biopic/Comedy – The biopic side of this film does show us just how much of an impact Billie Jean had on tennis during the 70s how she made a difference for the prize money and views of tennis. The film is set with a comic tone with most of the laughs coming from just how outlandish Bobby is meant to have been.
Settings – The film is set in the 1970s with each location, costume or outfit looking like we are part of that time.
Final Thoughts – This is a great to watch biopic about one of the biggest games in tennis history, it has brilliant performance throughout and will leave you want to see what happened next.
Overall: Brilliant biopic.