- Colin Fraser
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
THREE STARS Billie Jean King fights for her rights as a tennis player, a feminist, and as a woman.
Starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell
COMEDY DRAMA #BATTLEOFTHESEXES
This sturdy bio-pic tells the timely story of tennis star Billie Jean King: her self-discovery pitted against a backdrop of 70’s feminism and one of the period’s most exciting grudge matches. With Emma Stone as King and Steve Carrell as her chauvinistic, showman nemesis (Bobby Riggs), they are an appealing combination – Stone a spunky yet vulnerable feminist, Carrell the entertaining clown who wages he can beat the world’s number one female player, simply because she’s female. Riggs is determined to win the bet and whatever merchandising offers come his way, while King is determined to make history and kick women’s liberation into the stratosphere. That’s if new found love in the shape of Marilyn the hairdresser doesn’t break her concentration, or her husband, first.
The directors of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE turn in a very watchable slice of history that hits home in light of the SSM survey currently creating conversations similar to those that framed King’s fight as a woman, and as a lesbian. While the horrendous sexism of the period gets rightly knifed by the filmmakers – audible gasps from the audience at some of the more atrocious assaults – King’s sexual awakening is the backbone of the story. Her gay, male costume maker (Alan Cumming) tries to keep her calm, advising ‘our time will come’, although King was not a woman to wait. Factor in an appearance by Margaret Court (played by Packed To The Rafters’ Jessica McNamee) and BATTLE OF THE SEXES couldn’t resonate more loudly.