MOVIE REVIEW – Battle of The Sexes
I saw Battle of the Sexes this weekend, the story of Bobby Riggs vs. Billy Jean King in a tennis match for equality.
Emma Stone plays BJK and she nails it. It’s nuts how much she looks, moves and talks like Billy Jean in the movie. Steve Carell plays Bobby Riggs and also does an incredible job. Just look at the comparisons here:
SPOILERS I guess? This all really happened, so…
In the 70s, Billy Jean King was the top tennis player and the first 100K female player. When the Tennis league at the time was paying female players sometimes 12 times less than the amount they paid their men, BJK basically told them to fahk off and started the Women’s Tennis Association with a few of the other professional female tennis players.
In the movie as Billy Jean and her band of tennis players are building up the WTA, Bobby, a 55 year old, former singles tennis champion and hall of famer, is in a life funk. He has a gambling problem, he hates his desk job and the gambling is causing his marriage to fall apart.
Bobby Riggs sees all the publicity the WTA is getting and decides to challenge the then #1 ranked player Margaret Court. He makes everything about men are better than women etc… and offers 35K to any woman that can beat him. He and Margaret play and he sweeps her in 3 sets, to which he then crowns himself the “Best female tennis player in the world”,
Billy Jean sees this and gets pissed because she KNOWs that Bobby is a hustler and just doing this to make money and it’s degrading to women and discounting everything she’s worked for with the WTA and getting equal pay for the women in tennis. She’s backed into a corner, but takes up Bobby Riggs’ challenge and at this point, Bobby’s prize money has gone up to 100K.
Throughout the movie, BJK is married to Larry King who’s a nice enough guy and supportive, but BJK also starts catching feelings for a hairdresser that she eventually starts having an affair with. This plays through the movie and Larry finds out and kind of accepts it because he understands it’s all about BJK and her tennis. So Larry, the mistress and BJK all know the deal and just kind of make it work.
Once the match is set, Bobby, the total showman is selling this match. He’s playing up the chauvinist angle, saying women are good at making babies and dinner. Billy Jean basically just keeps saying “keep talking old man”
The match is HUGE. They packed out an arena and it was viewed by MILLIONS of people on TV.
Billy Jean goes on to smoke the old man in 3 straight sets, the same way Bobby smoked Margaret and the crowd goes wild!
This was a HUGE movement for women’s tennis and for Women’s Lib. Bobby had talked so much smack leading up to the match and how men were superior, it was a nice middle finger to all the chauvinists in the world.
I love movies that are based on true stories, cause I then like to go home and find out how much was true, how much was BS. I knew a LITTLE about this story before going in and my only two gripes on the movie is, you never really find out, was Bobby really a pig or was this all for show? Were Bobby and Billy Jean friends before/during/after all this? did they hate each other? and they NEVER talk about that it came out years later that supposedly Bobby Riggs had a huge gambling debt to the mob and threw the match to wipe off his debt. ESPN did an Outside the Lines expose on it, but it was never even mentioned in the movie.
Overall the movie is great, good flow and is solid. I just wish we knew more about Bobby & Billy’s relationship off the court and did Bobby throw the match.