A disappointing turnout at what could have been a truly great film for 2017. The performances by Steve Carrell and Emma Stone are both solid as their respected title roles, but the letdown from the film comes from the unfocused writing and direction.
Battle of the Sexes dramatizes the events leading up to the 1973 match between Billie Jean King (Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Carell) and their personal lives. The story follows the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women's movement, the 1973 tennis-match between women's World #1 Billie Jean King and ex-men's-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs 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. This is some exciting material for a film and one that could reach out to our current generation. Unfortunately, as timely as the story is the writing from Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and direction from Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) seemed to be unfocused.
The pacing was off and the film dragged all the way up until the prestigious match. But, Stone and Carrell’s performances were on par and deserve much attention here. Carrell was overall funny and brought an extra layer of complexity to his character; while Stone was fierce and shined in her role as Billy Jean. Both Carell and Stone earned Golden Globe nominations for their work. If anything, watch this film for the actors and their portrayal of these iconic people. 2017's Battle of the Sexes proved that just because a movie's story is timely doesn't mean that the overall product will turnout great. Due to the slow pacing and flimsy writing on a landmark story of the woman’s movement, in the end, stick to the 2013 documentary rather than this feature film.
Battle of the Sexes is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned). For some sexual content and partial nudity.