Battle of the sexes focuses on the true story of the titular exhibition match between female tennis player Billie Jean King and male tennis player Bobbie Riggs during I think the 1970s or 80s. This film is actually still very relevant in today’s climate which is a sad thing as it focuses on equality for women and even LGBTQ rights which are both still not exactly being widely accepted worldwide in today’s “modern” society. It is also much more a character study and drama of both players’ lives although the main focus is Billie.
The plot is basically based on a true event that revolves the famous female tennis player Billie Jean King and the ex-champion Bobbie Riggs in the 1970s. In what was a sport dominated by men, Billie has to fight through sexism while at the same time has to fight her own battle with her sexuality. How did she brave through all of them and became a legend?
In terms of plot I found the first half really dragging and while they truly did justice to the characters’ portrayals, some of it just was not all that interesting though it did provide for some interesting and realistic human drama. The film really finds it’s footing in the second half when the titular match is set up and both players are past the point of no return, realizing that this match HAS to happen. There aren’t all that much tennis scenes, to be honest, but what scenes there were especially the final match is excellent. The whole slow build-up towards the final match was a bold choice but I feel it did pay off in the end.
In terms of characters, both Emma Stone and Steve Carell did an amazing job in portraying their characters but I have to say that Billie being the main focus did give Stone much more moments to shine. However, besides the 2 leads, there are actually a surprising number of recognisable talent in supporting roles and they all did a superb job too so truly bravo to the whole cast here.
The dramas that the characters faced just felt so real and at times relatable, even if not much backstory was given, I still felt connected to the characters. It just felt very human.
As a period piece portraying the 70s, I felt the film did a good job too in terms of costume, hair and overall locations. However, I have to say that I was not a fan of the cinematography of the film as it was almost entirely close-up shots and handheld cams. While I feel like this was done to give a much more personal and less cinematic feel to the film, the film as a whole could have used more wide shots to be more…aesthetically pleasing and it was a breath of fresh air whenever one rolled around.