“Battle of the Sexes,” is a film based on the famous Battle of the Sexes tennis match in which Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) took on and won against male chauvinist and former tennis champion Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) in 1973. It was the tennis match of the century, for it was an integral part of the formation millions of women during the women’s rights movement.
Directed by husband and wife team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (“Little Miss Sunshine”) “Battle of the Sexes’ is one of the best films of the year. It boasts an incredibly strong screenplay by Oscar-winning writer Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire) and the film has many charms along with its solid strength of direction and screenplay.
The first thing that will hit you is the incredible cinematography by Oscar winner Linus Sandgren (“La La Land”). It is fabulous, especially during the photography of tennis play. He mixes up the shots and gives a great variety. Production design, art direction, and set decoration which brings back the 70’s with perfection provides a world that is believable and for those who are old enough, memorable.
Film editor Pamela Martin proves why she received an Oscar nomination for her film “The Fighter,” in 2012. Also, a “Little Miss Sunshine” alumni Martin gives the sports a great mix of slow motion and quick action. She allows the personal moments to play out in a more leisurely manner.
“Battle of the Sexes,” was brilliantly cast by Justine Arteta and Kim Davis-Wagner. Most memorable of the supporting cast is Sara Silverman as Gladys Heldman, Elisabeth Shue as Priscilla Riggs, Natalie Morales as Rosie Casals and Bill Pullman as the dastardly Jack Kramer. “Little Miss Sunshine,” alumnus Steve Carell dons the exploitative characteristics of Bobby Riggs with such ease it’s hard to believe it’s not Bobby Riggs on the screen. He has done a remarkable job, and it’s possible that his performance may be overlooked at award season, which would be a shame.
If “Battle of the Sexes,” is anyone one thing, it is Emma Stone’s film. Her performance is much more nuanced than her for her Oscar-winning performance in “La La Land.” She explores the character of Billie Jean King with bravado. So, she definitely should garner another Oscar nomination? Could she win back to back Oscars? It’s unlikely, but should she? It may be too early into movie season to tell.
“Battle of the Sexes,” is a wonderful example of a great film. It is entertaining and moving. One of the hallmarks of a great film is a movie that inspires. The original Battle of the Sexes match inspired many women that were fighting for equality. And today women still do not earn the same money as men for the same work. Perhaps the job isn’t over yet. And perhaps this is the film that may inspire a new generation.
“Battle of the Sexes,” is rated PG-13 for some sexual content and partial nudity and has a run-time of 161 minutes.