Battle of the Sexes: Film Review

Battle of the Sexes was one of the films I was most excited to see at the London Film Festival because I felt confident that I would love it, and I was right. If I had seen it at LFF (I was gutted I missed it), it would have been in my top 10 without a doubt.

Battle of the Sexes chronicles the lives of women’s number one tennis star Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and retired player Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) in the months leading up to their famous 1973 match. King leaves a major tournament after learning that the women’s prize is eight times less than the men’s, even though they bring in equal ticket sales. She sets up her own women’s tour with Gladys Heldman (Sarah Silverman) and they manage to recruit players, even though they will get banned from the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

They have a lot of personal problems too – with the married King becoming attracted to their hairdresser Marilyn (Andrea Riseborough) and Riggs risking losing his wife Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue) over his gambling problem.

Stone’s performance is incredible and she could end up with another Oscar nomination this year. Carrell is more of the light, comic relief as Riggs is a jerk who plays up to his “chauvinist pig” persona. Carell was the perfect casting for Riggs – he looks uncannily like the guy! There were also good supporting turns from Alan Cumming as the tour’s designer, Austin Stowell as King’s husband Larry, and Bill Pullman as tournament boss Jack Kramer.

I thought it spent a touch too long focusing on King’s sexuality but it portrayed it well – Larry was such a sweet husband and you felt sorry for him and understood how torn King was. I would have also liked more Silverman and Cumming as they were both excellent.

It made me realise how strong King was and how much she did for women’s rights and gender equality. She started her own freaking tour over the gap gap! That’s incredible. What a remarkable woman.

Many people know the outcome of the match, but as I never saw the real thing, it was still exciting and gripping to watch and it made me emotional thinking about what it meant for women at the time.

It is informative, interesting, fun, and thoroughly entertaining, with two A++ lead performances, so definitely worth a watch.

In cinemas Friday 24th November

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