“Battle of the Sexes” celebrates athletic icon Billie Jean King

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‘Battle of the Sexes’ tells the story of Billie Jean King (Photo Courtesy of imbd.com).

Kaijie Zhang

Starring Steve Carell (Bobby Riggs) and Emma Stone (Billie Jean King), “Battle of the Sexes” is the inspirational story of Billie Jean King, a former professional world no. 1 tennis player. The film depicts King’s journey fighting for women’s equality in professional competitive tennis, while also discovering her own sexuality.

Although the film seems to focus primarily on the physical tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King, it tells the story of a much deeper struggle. Despite facing failure and constant bias in the tennis world, King grows as an individual.

Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, a married couple widely known for their film “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006), “Battle of the Sexes” is considered a sport biography film.

The story behind “Battle of the Sexes” is what makes it standout from other Biography/Sports movies. The casting is perfect with Steve Carell and Emma Stone considering they bear shocking resemblance to the real-life Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King. The acting from Carell and Stone is also fantastic.

Although the movie’s overall theme is optimistic and motivational, there are times where Steve Carell’s portrayal of Bobby Riggs is so accurate it hurts.

Carell as Riggs declares, “Men are the superior animal,” and, “Don’t get me wrong, I love women in the bedroom and in the kitchen, but these days they want to be everything,” which rubbed me the wrong way. These quotes, however, provided the necessary insight into the sexism that existed in the 1970s. It was strange to witness Steve Carell, an actor I respect, saying these sexist things because although he was portraying a character, they were shocking things to hear aloud.

There is noticeable a lack of character development in “Battle of the Sexes,” but considering it is a non-fiction film, it is forgivable. Nevertheless, some sub-story lines are left unanswered by the end of the film that could’ve been developed further. The film didn’t always capitalize on the opportunity to give the audience a better understanding of the situation at the time and show King’s impact as a female athlete.