• Melissa Kartini

Movie Review: "Battle of the Sexes" a Smash

Updated: Aug 6, 2018

  • Genre: Biography/Comedy/Sports

  • Language: English

  • Starring: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell, Eric Christian Olsen

Many know Emma Stone as the sassy chick from “Easy A” and Steve Carell as the hilarious guy from “The Office”. So the idea of bringing these two comedians together on the big screen? Genius.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that the both of them are critically acclaimed for their work.

Naturally, “Battle of the Sexes” is off to a terrific start with just its front men alone. Of course, the question of whether it can keep up the momentum that it started is another matter entirely. Such is a question that will eventually be answered in this post, but let’s cover the basics first and find out what “Battle of the Sexes” is all about.

What is it about?

In tennis, the term “Battle of the Sexes” is used to describe various matches between a man and a woman. And as what one would guess of a movie about tennis, “Battle of the Sexes” is precisely about that. It surrounds the events that led up to the much anticipated match between Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) and Billie Jean King (Emma Stone), and their personal lives- albeit dramaticised.

Bobby, who opined that women aren’t able to beat men on the tennis court, had challenged Billie to a match- which she declined. This in turn nudged him to challenge Margaret Court (Jessica McNamee) instead, the then top female tennis player in the world. When she lost to him, and consequently gave the public reason to mock women’s tennis and women’s place in the world, this backed Billie into a corner.

Knowing that if she didn’t do anything about it, feminist movement and women’s tennis would be damaged for decades to come, and so she stepped up to the plate. She knew that women don’t only belong in the kitchen and as some had so crudely put it, the bedroom. It was time for the rest of the world to understand that too.

Is it worth a watch?

In all honesty? “Battle of the Sexes” is a winner in straight sets.

It features two strong leads who play their roles perfectly- with some even going as far as to say that this film is Emma’s best performance yet. While I can’t say I’ve had the pleasure of watching all of her work, I’m inclined to agree that this is a real possibility. Her character is incredibly real, flawed and human, a true feminist who truly respects both sexes. Steve, on the other hand, is as entertaining as ever. His rendition of Bobby Riggs is arrogant, loud and irritating, and coupled with his talent for humour, yes, engaging.

The main actor and actress aside, the story itself is worthy of praise. The setting takes place during a time when women had far less rights than they do now, yet despite the obvious feminist theme “Battle of the Sexes” champions, it is not obnoxious or insufferable. It explains its message calmly, with the gentility of a mother guiding her child, and does not ever, not once, disparage men. It is precisely what feminism should look like.

As for its secondary theme, the issue of LBGT rights is handled in very much the same way. All in all, “Battle of the Sexes” wins in showing that no matter who we are, we’re all human- just like everyone else. And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini

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