Battle of the Sexes (2017) review

In the early 1970's Billie Jean King is a tennis player at the top of her game. Number one in the world and with a huge amount of influence and public support she confronts the head of the United States Lawn Tennis Association to demand women be paid the same as the men. When she is rebuffed she decides to form her own Women's Tennis Association and tournament. With little financial backing a determined group of female players set out to prove that they can draw the same crowds as the men. Bobby Riggs, a former number one past his prime with a gambling addiction, sees a chance to return to the limelight, challenging any female player to face him. What follows is a heartfelt and humorous real-life drama following both these characters as they struggle both with their career and family lives.

Emma Stone gives a spellbinding performance as Billie Jean King, a woman who is strong-willed and charismatic, though in private moments someone who is coming to terms with her sexuality. Likewise Steve Carrell is both hilarious and poignant as Bobby Riggs, who despite proclaiming himself a "male chauvinist pig" is clearly not mean-spirited but suffering a loss of prestige as his former glories fade. Both of these stories are entertaining and come together at the end in the historic match titled "Battle of the Sexes". The film does a good job of getting across various details, the WTA sponsorship deals, Bobby's reliance on medication, both character's personal situations, without losing momentum. Every scene is highly watchable and well written. This is a highly entertaining, fast paced, look at an important moment for the women's rights movement and in the life of this interesting character.