Battle of the Sexes - 3.5 Stars
This obvious Oscar contender tells a fascinating story at a vital time, but the direction was lacking.
The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.
This is a strong story, with a variety of interesting characters, but it lacked true focus. It spanned a longer time frame the necessary and gave us backstory where it wasn’t always need. The story was about the fight for equality, a story which is, disappointingly as relevant now as it was in 1973. Billie Jean King (portrayed by Emma Stone) was an icon for women’s and LGBTQ rights. While we do see some of the hurdles she faced and the blatant sexism of the time, it needed to focus on her fight. The direction was lacking, there was odd cinematography and the lightning at times seemed unnecessarily dark.
The performances were excellent with Alan Cumming and Bill Pullman being standouts in the supporting cast. Both Emma Stone and Steve Carell were great, but honestly their writing wasn’t as strong as it could’ve been. The film did have a fantastic supporting ensemble.
Overall it’s a great story, which I’m glad was told, but I wish it was told better.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of 20th Century Fox