The story of a legend Billie Jean King and her fight for equality for women in Tennis. Focusing on an incredible match against Bobby Riggs from 1973. Also the set up of the WTA and battling with her sexuality.
Some of this film was pretty hard to handle when you hear the way the men involved in Tennis regarded the women playing the game and let’s face it I am sure in many sports those pathetic views still stand, working in sport myself it is still an ongoing battle to be accepted in what is still a very male dominated environment. Billie Jean King was very determined to change everything as she battled against everything and everyone to change things for the better. Bobby Riggs was struggling with life after Tennis still holding onto being a former champion and being in the hall of fame (America loves those). He was a self-made media celebrity and was not afraid to say what he thinks and wind people up.
The set up of the Women’s Tennis Association breaking away from the LTA was a big move especially when they were then stopping these players from playing in the Grand Slam competitions. But sometimes to move forward you have to be willing to take a step back, that is something that had to happen. The prize money being offered to the women was eight times less than what the men were going to be getting and less than the previous competition, so something really did have to be done about that. I think this film also shows how big sponsorship was going to become in sport as well.
The thing is though the film is not only about that match seeing a man play against a woman in the battle of the sexes it goes a lot deeper. Looking a Billie Jean King’s battle with her sexuality when she takes her friendship with a woman to a different level whilst being married to Larry. Bobby Riggs has an addiction to gambling and no matter what he tries he just cannot stop, battling with a life after finishing a sport.
Everything about this film was just so good, the performances were outstanding from Emma Stone and Steve Carell in the leading roles with Sarah Silverman and Alan Cumming standing out in the supporting roles in my opinion. Everything flowed very well from the start to finish, with the build up to the match being very interesting. Everything about it screaming over the top and the way Riggs was training and the different jokes he was making building it up to breaking point.
I also enjoy films around sport because you get to the hard work and determination that is needed for athletes/players to remain at the top or battle to be at the top, this one was no different. With the performances to match I really was impressed with this film showing a very important groundbreaking women’s approach to changing a very male dominated environment. Surely we will be seeing nominations for this one come awards season?