Our Two Cents: Battle Of The Sexes
By Audrey Michelin
King vs Riggs. Feminist vs Chauvinist. Extravaganza vs restraint.
Battle of the Sexes hit cinemas this week. To celebrate The Edge HQ packed the local Event Cinemas to get a first look.
The biopic is loosely based around the 1973 exhibition tennis match between World Number 1, Billie Jean King, and ex-champion and serial hustler, Bobby Riggs.
The film follows Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Gladys Heldman (Sarah Silverman) establishing the Women’s Tennis Association and the Virginia Slims Tour after the patriarchal US Lawn Tennis Association offers female players one eighth of the prize money of the men.
We also get a glimpse of King’s burgeoning relationship with hairdresser, Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough).
Bobby Riggs (Steve Carrell) is an ex-champ and a self-proclaimed “chauvinist pig” who now plays on the senior circuit and is trying to earn enough money to cover his gambling debts after his always impeccably presented wife, Priscilla (Elizabeth Shue), kicks him out for gambling.
Seeking fame and fortune, Riggs challenges and monumentally beats Margaret Court (Jessica McNamee) and then sets his sights on King.
Dubbed ‘The Battle of the Sexes’, the match between King and Riggs is more than just a tennis match but is a symbolic war over gender roles and gender equality in sports and society in general.
Spoiler alert: this match happened IRL, King was carried in by topless men, Riggs wore a ridiculous yellow jacket for most of the match with King defeating Riggs in straight sets.
The costumes and the spectacle of the event are all depicted with unnerving accuracy, and highlights the larger issues at play here – gender equality, sexuality and sexism.
Carell and Stone’s performances are stand out and with an all-star supporting cast (Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elizabeth Shue, Jessica McNamee and Fred Armisen).
Battle of The Sexes is in Cinemas now.