Battle of the Sexes

Several weeks ago I went to see “Battle of the Sexes”.

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As a tennis fan, a feminist and a cinefiile this movie was a must see for me. Considering the fact that it is a classic bio pic in the sense that you know who it’s going to end I have to say that the film did a great job of building up a feeling of suspense about the legendary tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. The film was entertaining from start to finish.

It’s funny what films and performances get attention and which ones slip through the cracks. Emma Stone won an Oscar earlier this year for her charming performance in “La La Land” but I think her performance here is actually much stronger. We know that she can be light and airy but she finds a sense of toughness and defiance here that we haven’t seen before.

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I think this film was a great choice for Emma Stone as she closes in on 30. It shows that she has great promise once she moves out of the ingénue roles. It’s too bad the despite the fact that this is the better performance she will probably be forgotten by Oscar time, ditto for Steve Carrell whose performance is excellent but won’t be getting any nominations for lack of buzz.

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I do not understand for the life of me why he got an Oscar nomination for “Foxcatcher” but he is quite good here as Bobby Riggs and I think this film performance deserves at least a Golden Globe nomination. This film has enough comedic moments to let Carell’s strengths be front and center but there is also of depth in his performance to make it more than just a caricature. Among the supporting performances I have to say that Sarah Silverman was really great as Gladys Heldman, I didn’t even realize it was her at first, which is what a first rate performance should do.

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Elizabeth Shue does what she can but her role is so thinly written that the character may as well be named long suffering wife.

It’s easy to watch “Battle of the Sexes” and appreciate how far women athletes have come but this film isn’t just about sports. It’s about equality for women in general and if there is one thing this current #metoo era has taught us is that we have a long way to go. The film also doesn’t whitewash Billie Jean King’s sexuality.

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The way she, her lover and the gay men in the film have hide who they are again shows us how far we’ve come.

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However, the fact that Margaret Court just last week was up in arms about same sex marriage passing in Australia the same way she was up in arms about Billie Jean King’s secret relationship back in 1973 again shows us how far we all have to go.

The film didn’t get a lot buzz or business but I highly recommend it for anybody who likes the subject matter, tennis or the actors involved. Not to mention that the film is worth seeing for anybody who believes in equality for women and LGBTQ people.

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Here is a description:

Justin Gomez and his sister, Terri, have never been close. Separated by nine years and distant in adulthood, Justin and Terri have little in common, except for the love of her three children. In the days before they embark on a road trip to visit the father that once abandoned them and their now deceased mother, both Terri and Justin are dealing with unexpected changes in their lives. Justin surprisingly realizes he might want more than a series of one night stands after a first date goes unexpectedly well. After a lifetime of being a strong type A personality, Terri is forced to confront the reality of the end of her marriage. As they hit the road, with Terri’s children in tow, they find themselves forced to rely on and confide in each other following a devastating event. Confronted with memories from the past and challenges from the present, Terri and Justin must dig deep and unearth the truth about themselves and their parents in order to build a new family based on their love for each other.

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