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Battle of the Sexes
by Rose Finlay

Jonathan Dayton/Valerie Faris, UK/USA

In 1973, Billie Jean King was the women’s World Champion of Tennis and at the top of her career. In the face of massive pay inequality, she and several other top women tennis players create their own league in protest. On the road she finds herself struggling with her sexuality and her game. When King is convinced to take part in a novelty match with the ex-men’s tennis champion Bobby Riggs titled Battle of the Sexes, the world tunes in to see whether women really should be treated equally, for there is no way that a woman could ever beat a man.

While the topic is certainly an interesting one, particularly for younger audiences who might not be familiar with the match, Battle of the Sexes doesn’t ever manage to make much of an impact and unfortunately often crosses the line to melodrama when dealing with King’s sexuality. Much of the screen time is taken up dealing with the status of King’s personal life, which seems almost ironic considering that she was fighting to be taken seriously as a tennis player and yet even in her biopic the focus is more on her sex life. This is made more ridiculous when during the closing credits only her marital status was mentioned instead of any of her further career achievements. While Emma Stone and Steve Carell each give decent performances, the end result is nothing to write home about.