‘Battle of the Sexes’ sits in a weird spot. It’s a fun movie while not a straight up comedy; it covers a serious topic while also not being too heavy handed about it. I think that’s why I enjoyed a lot of its individual parts more than I liked the movie as a whole.
Emma Stone puts another notch in her ‘serious actress’ belt, playing feminist icon Billie Jean King, at the exact moment in time when multiple stars were aligning. Professionally, women’s tennis players weren’t even being offered half of what the men were making (in terms of the purses of major championships), and Billie Jean King was in the center of rectifiying that wrong. On a more personal level, Ms. King was ‘married to a good man’, but her desires were being awakened in another direction (Alan Cumming is brilliant as the gay costumer who sees the writing in the wall before Billie Jean is ready to fully comes to terms with it, privately or publicly).
Steve Carell is equally great as Bobby Riggs. Movies are made a year out, but even with unpredictable outcomes in real life, it’s interesting to watch Carell play Riggs as this showman/hustler who doesn’t seem to completely believe the things he says publicly, but he knows its what his benefactors want to hear, and he knows it will make headlines.
Not a Hall of Fame movie per se, but a story that surprisingly hasn’t been captured as a movie until now. Worth seeing for the performances alone.