Battle of the Sexes
£7 concessions, £6.50 members
Length: 121 min
Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell
In 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 (Emma Stone) and ex-men’s-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) 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.
As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. The fiercely private King was not only championing for equality, but also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, as her friendship with Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) developed. And Riggs, one of the first self-made media age celebrities, wrestled with his gambling demons, at the expense of his family and wife Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue). Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today.
“Finally, a tennis movie that works. After the disappointing Borg vs McEnroe, we get another high-profile tennis film about a clash of personalities, only this one is defined by thrills, heartache, politics and passion.” – Kevin Maher, The Times
“Faris and Dayton are interested in how the players got there, not in the game itself, and their emphasis on the whole environment of the match creates a far richer and chewier film than the usual triumphant sports drama.” – Helen O’Hara, Daily Telegraph