Battle of the Sexes Recreates Riggs/King ’70s Tennis Feud

Written by | Entertainment, Screen

battle of the sexes

Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Productions

The director of Little Miss Sunshine tackles one of the most watched televised sports events of all time: 1973’s famed Battle of the Sexes, in which world Billie Jean King competed against serial hustler Bobby Riggs at grass court tennis. The match (really just a profitable publicity stunt brewed up by Riggs, who was 20 years King’s senior) captured people’s collective curiosity and sparked a global conversation about gender equality. But while Riggs (Steve Carell) angled for profit and publicity, King (Emma Stone) was in the midst of a very real struggle for equal pay within professional tennis. She had split from the main tennis organization and started her own all-female tour, which here features Sarah Silverman as a manager, Alan Cumming as a sassy sportswear designer and a hairdresseer (Andrea Riseborough, Birdman) whose private relationship with King is something that King must come to terms with even as she attempts to hide it from her husband. Above all, King knows she must beat Riggs and turn his circus into an enduring victory for women everywhere. Carell makes a convincing Bobby Riggs and is an utterly charming antagonist, while Stone also disappears into her role as the sincere, and dedicated champion. THE WORD: This well composed film is important, terrifically fun, and sure to please. COMING TO: Theaters

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Last modified: September 22, 2017

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