BATTLE OF THE SEXES movie review by The Commander


Battle of the Sexes

By the Commander

  (out of 4 stars)

If you were around in 1973, unless you were living under a rock or stranded on a desert island thinking World War II didn’t end, there is no way you could not have known about the famous tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King dubbed Battle of the Sexes. Since most of the moviegoing audience was born years after this event, this film leans more in the direction of a documentary than just a story.

 In fact, there’s nothing special that requires this to be seen at the box office. It can easily have been a TV movie or HBO style special. While Steve Carell and Emma Stone put in wonderful performances (even Sarah Silverman was great) it’s not a great movie. It does not require you spending your money. You could easily see this at home.

 While the title of the movie leads you to believe that this would mostly be about the tennis match, the film delves more into their personal lives.  At the time, Billie Jean was married to her husband Larry and Bobby Riggs was married to his wife Priscilla.  However, during the course of the film, a transformation occurs.  Billie Jean ends up in a lesbian relationship with her hairdresser, Marilyn Barnett and Bobby ends up separating from his wife. These distractions interfered with their performance on the court and their lives.

 I felt that too much was stressed on their personal relationships than the actual media build up and circus-like atmosphere leading up to the match. Unfortunately, this caused the movie to be diluted with women’s feminism and broken relationships.  It became more of an expose’ of marital dysfunction than it did a battle of the sexes. However, the filmmakers did a good job portraying the issues of female salary inequality in the sport of tennis and those conflicts were probably the best part of the movie. I wish they would have expanded on these issues because that is what the battle of the sexes is all about and continues today.




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