Reviews

Battle of the Sexes: A smashing biographical sports comedy drama

Battle of the Sexes: A smashing biographical sports comedy drama

He made a bet. She made history.

DVD: Battle of the Sexes

Runtime: 117 minutes

Age restriction: 13DPS

Special Features: Raw footage: Billie Jean’s grand entrance; Reigniting the rivalry; Billie Jean King: In her own words; Galleries.

Reviewed by: Gareth Drawbridge

Review made possible by: Empire Entertainment

Who is better at sport, men or women?

For years this question has caused many heated debates around braais, televisions and at local watering holes (that means the pub, in case you’re wondering – unless, of course, it’s the old lady asking, then it means helping a friend fix a leaky tap).

So, who is better? Well, this age-old question is served up in the biographical sports comedy drama The Battle of the Sexes.

Based on a true story, the film focuses on the famous 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

Fighting against what she and many other women deem as inequality in professional tennis, Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and several other players embark on their own women’s tennis tournament.

While on the road, King receives a late-night phone call from tennis champion, hustler and gambler Bobby Riggs (played by Steve Carell in quite possibly his finest role to date). Riggs challenges her to a match, which he reckons will be the ultimate sporting event.

Refusing to be a part of what she calls ‘the Bobby Riggs circus’, King rejects his offer. Not to be deterred from making a major comeback, Riggs throws down the gauntlet to women’s champion Margaret Court (Jessica McNamee). She accepts, and a date for the match is set.

Unfortunately, despite feeling confident, Court loses and it is game, set, match for Riggs. Or is it?

Frustrated with this turn of events and outraged by Riggs’ boasting and flippant male chauvinist comments, King agrees to compete in one of the most famous tennis matches to ever take place.

Despite dealing with their own inner turmoil and personal problems, the players begin training and start taunting each other in the media – with Riggs serving some rather amusing sexist remarks and King hitting right back with barbs about his age.

As match day approaches and the anticipation (and taunting) continues unabated, the two equally driven players finally come out swinging, both ready to determine once and for all if a woman’s place is in the kitchen or on the tennis court.

Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Battle of the Sexes has been shot like a ‘70s-style film which, during certain scenes, gives viewers the impression they are watching authentic footage as opposed to a big-budget production. Of course, this overall effect adds to the film’s charm and helps set the tone for the period on which the storyline is based.

If you are a fan of films which are based on true events and appreciate filmmakers who pay close attention to detail, then Battle of the Sexes is definitely worth watching.

Battle of the Sexes is now available on DVD.

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