Battle of the Sexes (2017), Dir. Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton

Battle of the Sexes (2017), Dir. Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton
When we dare to want a little bit more, just a little bit of what you got, that’s what you can’t stand.
— Billy Jean King, Battle of the Sexes (2017)

Stars: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell, Natalie Morales, Lewis Pullman, Eric Christian Olsen, Jessica McNamee, Martha MacIsaac, Wallace Langham.
Director: Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton.
Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy

Are men better, stronger, naturally more talented and competitive than women. Is a woman too emotional, meeker, and naturally less physically able to deserve the same pay in professional sport? These are questions which are still asked today, still speculated upon by mainstream sports commentary though we are scared to admit it, even if we even slightly believe it. That is now, but was proven incorrect so many years ago but women are still paid less, still seen as weaker, and women sport of broadcast to a fraction of professional mens sports.

This film is about woman's lib, equality for everyone where we appreciate difference rather than using it as a measuring stick for success. It is about mutual respect for every gender, colour, creed, gender identity, and sexuality. Billy Jean King (Emma Stone) is an inspiration for then and for today.

Emma Stone is brilliant here, and proves to me that her Oscar win was not a fluke. She holds the screen and lets Billy Jean speak through by becoming her. Her eternal smile, her joyous twinkle, her vulnerability is truly inspiring to see. And Steve Carell's Bobby Riggs is the perfect foil of the male chauvinist.

What was truly refreshing was the allowance of a queer woman to be front and centre of her own story. To allow her pain, inner conflict, and truth be the ultimate narrative. As Billy Jean states, this is just a show for Riggs, the battle between the sexes is nothing but a side show for what is important. Billy Jean knows this, Riggs knows this, and hopefully the world knows this too.

★ ★ ★ ★