I wasn’t alive in 1973, but I’ve heard stories. People didn’t watch TV the way we do today, but despite that, nearly 90 million people tuned in one day in 1973 to watch what was dubbed The Battle of the Sexes. Like many great real-life stories, the Battle of the Sexes has made its way to the big screen! I was invited to get an early sneak peek last week.
Through much of history, women have been expected to be seen and not heard. Women were second class citizens and should be happy to get whatever attention was given, positive, negative or otherwise. Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) wasn’t having it. After finding out just how little women were being financially rewarded in the world of tennis when compared to their male counterparts, she set out to make women heard.
King lead the support for for the first professional women’s tennis tour. Meanwhile, former men’s tennis champion and self-described tennis hustler, Bobby Riggs, was looking to profit off some of the controversy going on within the sport. The two ultimately ended up playing in a $100,000 exhibition match, The Battle of the Sexes.
First things first, I think casting did a phenomenal job on Bobby Riggs. The personality, the look, both were spot on with Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs. Just take a look at the photo above. And Emma Stone, she was perfect too. She plays the outspoken female role so well! (Easy A, The Help) You’ll see other familiar faces too… Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, and Elisabeth Shue just to name a few.
From the outside, this movie looks like it’s all about a tennis match, but it’s not. It’s about personal demons, sexuality and where the world was on both of those in the 1970s . Both King and Riggs are fighting internal battles, and those battles that have taken over their lives. Bobby’s gambling addiction is ruining his marriage, while Billie Jean’s marriage has it’s own issues. This movie is about struggles. Personal struggles and the struggles of women who just want to be treated as equals.
It’s not all serious though. There are plenty of light and witty moments! Gladys (Sarah Silverman) is everything a sassy, outspoken woman wants to be. Bobby is, for lack of a better term, completely full of himself. And you can’t forget the rest of the women’s team. Each brings their own special personality to the movie.
Don’t worry men. Battle of the Sexes isn’t all full of man-hating. My husband actually found it to be quite humorous and a little scary too. I think he may have seen one or two too many reflections of his wife in some of the characters. I won’t deny some of the similarities. I don’t look near as good in a tennis shirt though.
My only gripe – I wish the movie had gone on to show more of Billie Jean and Bobby’s lives after the match. I’ve done a fair amount of reading on Wikipedia about both Billie Jean and Bobby and I feel like there is so much more there! Still, I was really happy with the movie and will very likely watch it again.
All in all, this movie is a win. It’s a great date night movie, or even girl’s night movie, so don’t miss it! Battle of the Sexes hit theaters last night, September 29th.
**Photos are by Melinda Sue Gordon. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved