Film Review: Battle of the Sexes

I’ve always thought Bobby Riggs was a jackass and a completely uninteresting figure. But I like Billie Jean King, and as regular blog readers know, I’m sometimes mistaken for her. That incidental connection with her life, plus encouragement from some people whose movie judgment I trust, took me to see Battle of the Sexes. I loved the film. Emma Stone really nails King, and somehow the match with Riggs is thrilling, even though we know the outcome.

The match took place in 1973, and it was a reminder — despite every effort of the Trump administration to take us back to the 1950’s — of how far women, female athletes, and LGBTQ Americans have come. All of women’s sports, not just tennis, owes a great debt to Billie Jean King, who led the drive for equal prize money, created the WTA, and stood up to the promoters who regularly disparaged women’s talent.

There is also a tender personal story, as King becomes aware of her lesbian identity and begins a passionate relationship with her hairdresser — right in the midst of the highly publicized battle viewed worldwide by an estimated 90 million people. Alan Cummings, who plays the dresser for the WTA athletes, whispers to King that “someday we’ll be able to love who we love.”

Despite the best efforts of Jeff Sessions and Roy Moore and the Republican Party, that day is here.

5 thoughts on “Film Review: Battle of the Sexes

  1. I went with Ron, very reluctantly, to see this film! I found it to be very well done as films go, especially the editing! I can’t stand Riggs, but found Steve Carroll’s performance showed a vulnerability That was unexpected. I love Emma Stone and thought she did a great job! A good evening for both of us. I can’t wait to see Victoria and Abdul. It opened in more theaters yesterday.

  2. for Linda: I think you’ll like Victoria and Abdul. Judi Dench is wonderful, and it’s a poignant story of an old and powerful but very lonely woman and her unlikely friendship.

  3. for Justballtennis: Liked the film a lot. I’m a big fan of Billie Jean King. and as a matter of fact, people think I look like her. I’ve been stopped two or three times in IAH United Club by people asking if I might be the tennis star — very flattered that anyone would mistake me for a professional athlete. I thought the film portrayed her lesbian awakening with authenticity and grace. Great story, great athlete and fighter for equality for women on the professional tennis circuit, and the film did it all justice. Thanks for asking.

  4. Thankyou for your response! I’ll be watching the film sometime soon, and I’ll be looking out for “pklainer” in the end credits 😉 Billie was a hero for Women not only in sport but worldwide! Thanks for the review.

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