Friday, October 20, 2017

Battle of the Sexes - Movie Review

The Movie: Battle of the Sexes

The Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

The Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Natalie Morales, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Fred Armisen, Eric Christian Olson, Martha MacIsaac, Jessica McNamee, Lewis Pullman, Chris Parnell

The Story: The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.

The Review:
Full disclosure. I am a huge fan of Emma Stone as an actress. Also, I have never been a fan of Steve Carell as an actor. That being said, it was very interesting to see them each take on very challenging roles that would hopefully push them to new heights. While Stone fully utilizes all of her considerable skills as an actress, I felt like Carell was bland, predictable, and just sort of there. It was like watching an all pro tennis player taking on an amateur with considerably less skill and coming away with an easy victory that completely outclassed the unworthy opponent.

The story itself is pretty solid although a bit uneven at times. For me, it felt like two separate stories that didn't really fit together, but would inevitably crash into one another on the court. Billie Jean King's story is very well thought out, nuanced, and filled with emotions that draw you in and allow the cast members to really get after it. Meanwhile, Bobby Riggs was just a loud mouthed ass hole who couldn't get out of his own way. I guess, that's kind of the point, but it just didn't make for a very compelling narrative. I would have much preferred to see more of an emphasis on King's overall story with Riggs coming in as a small piece of the puzzle.

The Verdict:
Battle of the Sexes is a really good movie that could have been much better. Billie Jean King deserved to be the centerpiece of the story and Emma Stone deserved to be front and center from beginning to end. Even with its flaws, this is still a movie I would absolutely recommend seeing. The good is really good and far outweighs any missteps in how it was put together.

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