November 29, 2017 Movies

Stone and Carell serve up a treat.

I need to stop judging a book by its cover. I had apprehensions about watching films such as Moneyball, The Blind Side and The Damned United as I had no interest in the sport they centred around – and yet, I loved them.

Do I never learn? I had the same concerns walking into my screening of Battle of the Sexes. Sure, it’s about Tennis… but also so much more!

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This true story is set in the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement. It mostly focuses around the build up to a thrilling 1973 tennis match between World #1 Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-champ/self-confessed chauvinistic pig Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell). It was billed as the Battle of the Sexes and became the most watched televised sports event of all time, with an incredible 90 million viewers worldwide.

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The match created a heavy debate on gender equality. Riggs makes it clear to the media that he can beat any woman on the court and that their only reason for being there should be to pick up the balls. Due to a handful of similar sexist comments, we – as an audience – instantly become fully supportive of King’s efforts to not only win the game, but to make the tennis authorities give women the respect they deserve. As to whether she actually wins or not, you’ll have to find out for yourself.

Both King and Riggs also have their own personal battles off the court. King struggles to come to terms with her sexuality whilst Riggs takes on his gambling demons. It’s certainly enough drama to keep you entertained.

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Emma Stone gives one of the best performances of her career, getting the tone just right. Carell impresses also by unleashing the more serious side to him, which we’ve seen in films such as Foxcatcher and The Big Short.

It’s the overall seriousness of the film that is my biggest criticism. The trailer would have us believe that Battle of the Sexes is a laugh-out-loud riot – much like the directors’ (Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris) previous film, Little Miss Sunshine. It’s simply not. I felt slightly betrayed by the marketing.

Walk into the screening expecting more drama than comedy and you’ll get the most out the viewing experience.

Mikey Clarke

Genre: Drama, Comedy & Biopic

Running Time: 2hrs 1min

Directed by: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris

Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell & Eric Christian Olsen

See Battle of the Sexesand much more at Showcase Cinema, Peterborough. Visit www.showcasecinemas.co.uk for the latest up-to-date show times. You can also join the chat on Twitter @showcasecinemas or on Facebook by searching for ‘Showcase Cinemas UK’