REVIEW — “Battle Of The Sexes”
I’m a proud chauvinist pig too!
Battle Of The Sexes is directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, written by Simon Beaufoy, and stars Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell, and Sarah Silverman. It tells the true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs. Now, while I wasn’t hyped out my mind for this, I was relatively excited. A great cast, great directors, and a great story, how could this not be great? And I was right in my assumption. Battle Of The Sexes is simply put great. It won’t blow your mind or change your life, but it’s just a very well made film.
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris are directing here and they both do a great job. They’re known for projects like Little Miss Sunshine and Ruby Sparks and this fits right in. It may be there most mature effort thus far, balancing a lot of themes and heavy subjects, while also remaining light and fun. While I don’t think it is better than Little Miss Sunshine, they still remain exciting filmmakers. They’ve told a very funny and inspiring story with Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs, while also telling a dramatic and emotionally compelling story about love and identity. I really had a blast with Battle Of The Sexes and I’m excited to see what these two do next.
Simon Beaufoy penned the script and he also does a great job. He is known for projects like 127 Hours, Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Full Monty. So very diverse body of work, I’m not sure how this ended up in his hands but none the less he does a great job. He was gifted with the story being as absurd and iconic as it was, because it seemingly writes itself. That’s not a negative though, I really enjoyed his script. Each character has a satisfying arch and it wraps up very nicely. Even though it seems like Beaufoy was a screenwriter for hire, he did a great job here.
Steve Carell and Emma Stone star here and they are fantastic. While I don’t feel these performances will get the same amount of awards buzz as some of their last work, it honestly wouldn’t bother me if they did. Steve Carell is simply put hilarious. He manages to be pompous, over the top and absurd while also being sweet, endearing, and kind. It’s a very complex character and he nails it. Emma Stone shines as Billy Jean King, bringing a lot of complexity and charm to the character. It’s really her movie at the end of the day and it’s just a joy to follow her and her team around. Sarah Silverman also kills her roll, she was a delight whenever she was on screen. Austin Stowell was also a great addition to the cast. This is just an all around solid cast.
On a technical level, everything is fine. There is an interesting visual contrast of blue and yellow throughout the film and there are some visually interesting shots but other than that, nothing really stands out. But you’re not seeing this for the fantastic cinematography or emotional score, you’re seeing this for the performances and for the story. But that’s not to say this is just a performance film, because it’s got so much more to offer than that.
So in short, Battle Of The Sexes is just great on all fronts. It’s everything a film should be. It’s as solid as a rock. 4/5