The Battle of the Sexes
In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement, the 1973 tennis match between women’s world champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-men’s-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world. As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. The fiercely private King was not only championing for equality, but also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, as her friendship with Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) developed. And Riggs, one of the first self-made media-age celebrities, wrestled with his gambling demons, at the expense of his family and wife Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue).
Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today.
San Francisco Chronicle/Mick LaSalle
All this is dramatized expertly and with a lightness of touch in Simon Beaufoy’s screenplay and in the direction of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the team behind “Little Miss Sunshine.
Chicago Sun-Times/Richard Roeper
Battle of the Sexes stands on its own as a finely tuned period piece, a vibrant comedy, an effective character study and, yep, an inspirational sports movie.
Wall Street Journal/John Anderson
An extremely good-natured, upbeat recounting of the infamous Bobby Riggs-Billie Jean King “man vs. woman” match of 1973.
The Globe and Mail/Brad Wheeler
The film is surprisingly timely: Today's fierce, revitalized misogyny makes the 1970s male chauvinism droll and quaint in comparison.
Tampa Bay Times/Steve Persall
Stone is terrific, easy to cheer. She's feisty but a bit softer around the edges than King deserves. Another Oscar nomination is certain. Throw in Steve Carell's uncanny impersonation of Riggs and a stellar supporting cast and Battle of the Sexes has the makings of fine time capsule comedy, an extraordinary sports happening even by today's wired standards.
The outcome is widely known, but the backstory proves boisterously entertaining — and incredibly well-suited to the current climate, as King was both fighting for her gender and exploring her sexuality in 1973, when the widely publicized face-off happened.
The New York Times/Manohla Dargis
A glib, enjoyable fictionalization of the 1973 exhibition tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.