If you wanted to see a movie about tennis, “Battle of the Sexes” is hardly that. Although the plot of the film is centered upon the notorious match between Billie Jean King (played by Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (played by Steve Carell), the real story lies in the lives of the two tennis players.
Prior to the exhibition, the film portrays Billie Jean fighting for equal pay for men and women tennis players by creating what would become the Women’s Tennis Association. Although Billy Jean is under the spotlight combatting this matter, this is not the only societal issue she is fighting. Despite being married to Larry King, she has an affair with a hairdresser she meets, Marilyn Barnett. Throughout the film, Billie Jean is at a crossroads – does she continue her secret relationship with Marilyn or end it?
Meanwhile, Bobby conducts his gambling lifestyle against his wife Priscilla’s wishes, putting a rift in their relationship. Though retired, Bobby decides to challenge Billy Jean to a tennis match, dubbed “Battle of the Sexes,” where not only $100,000 is on the line, but so is his assurance of his victory. Leading up to the renowned match, Bobby flaunts misogynistic comments, but Billie Jean puts his words to rest when she wins “Battle of the Sexes.”
My parents were two out of the 90 million witnesses of the match in 1973. My mother’s message to Billy Jean King: “You go girl!” My father, who viewed the film, remarked, “I recall watching the exhibition, but I never realized what an impact the match would have on society.”
Ultimately, you can sit on the top deck. You can sit in the front row. But “Battle of the Sexes” presents a perspective that you cannot see from any seat in a tennis stadium.