User Reviews (124)

  • SnoopyStyle14 February 2018
    8/10
    when pigs fly
    Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) is a leading female tennis player. With promoter Gladys Heldman's help, she starts a rival tennis tour to fight for equal pay and against sexist tennis organizing head Jack Kramer. Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) is a former tennis champ and a gambling addict. He tries to hustle a high-stakes game with Billie. Instead, he entices Margaret Court who he thoroughly trounces. Billie realizes that she has no choice but to respond. In addition, she has to deal with her burgeoning homosexual awakening.

    I remember the TV movie with Holly Hunter. This one is a little more wide-ranging than a simple gender equality movie. Billie's sexuality is the center of her story while Bobby's gambling is his story. One thing it doesn't tackle is the rumor that Bobby threw the match due to a gambling debt. With no solid evidence, I certainly understand leaving it out but they could have hinted at it especially with his gambling issue front and center. It's great to tackle Billie's sexuality which makes her an even more compelling human character. Bobby's marriage could have more space. Part of that is their split which limits the wife's screen time. In general, this is great with some solid performances.
  • sydbuyer13 February 2018
    7/10
    Good and entertaining flick
    Good stuff. Not the best movie ever made, but I don't think they were trying to be. Steve Carell is brilliant as usual and its worth a watch.
  • TheLittleSongbird6 February 2018
    6/10
    An entertaining if uneven battle
    Despite not being the biggest of tennis fans, like as was said in my review for 'Borg vs. McEnroe' (also from 2017, and as said by others the superior film), the real-life story that 'Battle of the Sexes' is based upon is a fascinating one.

    'Battle of the Sexes' has proved to be very divisive, if more the audience reaction than the generally positive to acclaim critical reception. To me, it entertained, it engaged and it inspired, but also felt very uneven, with obvious great things and other elements that one wishes were done better. 'Borg vs. McEnroe' felt more of a more even and satisfying film, because it handled the characters in a much more balanced fashion and was more focused.

    Starting with the positives, 'Battle of the Sexes' has a suitably authentic 70s look that makes one feel like they are back in 1973. Some people may not like this and feel it's poor film-making, understandably, personally liked this successful effort at authenticity. Also really appreciated the perky, light-hearted tone of the film, while there are also emotional moments that reminds one that the film does have a heart and the message inspires.

    The climax is beautifully staged and there is a lot of light-hearted wit and thought-provoking writing. Emma Stone and Steve Carrell both give performances that are spirited and sincere, especially Stone in the more prominent role. Andrea Riseborough is the standout by quite some way of the supporting cast.

    However, can understand the criticisms of imbalance and bias. The characters are too one-sided and with the film so heavily focused on Billie Jean and her personal life (which was actually quite tastefully handled) and too much in her favour it means that the more tennis-oriented parts, other subplots and just as important characters are not focused on enough. The leads are great, as is Riseborough.

    The rest are stifled by their characters being explored in too flimsy, biased and one-dimensional a way, ranging from caricatures to idiots. A very dull Austin Stowell and a cartoonish Bill Pullman particularly struggle. The music is overwrought and sounded like it was written for another film and the film could have been shorter by half an hour.

    In conclusion, entertaining and interesting but uneven. 6/10 Bethany Cox
  • elizrug4 February 2018
    8/10
    Pretty good movie about an interesting event in sports history
    Warning: Spoilers
    There are a lot of reviewers who are giving this movie low ratings because of the message that women are equal to men and because of the lesbian aspect. First off, don't even consider their reviews. They are too offended by what they see as morality issues to even see the big picture, and that is that we all need to treat each other with equal respect.

    First point: as Billie Jean says in the movie, it's not about being better than anyone else, it's about being equal. That mean every person being treated with respect no matter what their sex is. This is the whole message of civil rights, too, yet there are those who are threatened by that message so they automatically reject it, hence dogging on a simple, feel-good movie.

    Secondly, Billie Jean was, and is, a lesbian. Many of us who grew up watching her play in the 70s and 80s were shocked-not-shocked when she came out. What is nice about this movie is showing, briefly, how that came about. It would take another whole movie about her private life to show better her story, but this movie isn't about that.

    This is a movie about a match what was dubbed at the time the "Battle of the Sexes". There is no way for this movie to show this match between King and Riggs without showing the events leading to it. It shows how Riggs is struggling with his addiction and his marital problems, and shows how King is struggling with her sexuality while still wanting to be loyal to her husband, who in fact, was the one who always pushed her to fight for equal rights.

    There is no way this movie could have been made differently, and the stars did an amazing job.
  • jayannajune4 February 2018
    2/10
    The Title is Deceiving
    Warning: Spoilers
    I remember watching BJK and Bobby Riggs square off in 1973 and the hype surrounding it. I was so looking forward to this story re-telling - but it was much more about King's affair with Marilyn Bartlett than the "Battle of the Sexes." The main plot is King's lesbianism. It was such a disappointment. This is a GREAT STORY that wasn't told. A blown opportunity. It should have been titled "Billie Jean King's Lesbian Affair." Sub plot: Margaret Court's homophobia. Honestly, if I has known this I wouldn't have rented it. I wanted to see the King vs Riggs story. Riggs is a side show here. A silly Steve Carell was a bright spot in this otherwise borefest.
  • lavatch3 February 2018
    A Cause Célèbre
    Warning: Spoilers
    The best part of "Battle of the Sexes" was the package of behind-the-scenes tracks in the DVD version of the film.

    In those segments, it became clear how hard the filmmakers worked to recreate the America of 1973. The film was even shot in the cinematographic style of movies in the early 1970s. Somehow, the original trainer of Bobby Riggs for the tennis showdown was located and hired as a consultant on the set to work with the actor playing "The Male Crusader."

    The bonus track also includes an interview with Billie Jean "Moffitt" King, who reflects on her enormous achievements in tennis in the year 1973, and how she and her fellow women tennis players were charting new ground not only for women athletes, but for women as a whole.

    Great athletes like Rosie Casals, Jane "Peaches" Bartrowicz, and Margaret Court were pathfinders along with Billie Jean King. They were conscious of taking the lead in facing forward, charting new directions for humanity, instead of looking backwards on the direction in which their world was moving.

    The famous match between King and Bobby Riggs is thus a microcosm of a world in change. Without a doubt, the best scenes in the film were the tennis sequences. In recreating the match in the Houston Astrodome, there was the voice-over of Howard Cossell's colorful commentary. The atmosphere within the enormous domed complex was faithfully recreated.

    In the bonus track, the film artists stressed how their goal was to unfold a sports story, a love story, and a political story. The only weakness of the film was in far too much time squandered on the love story between Billie Jean and her hairdresser. After all of the build-up for a film about dramatic changes in the worlds of sports, politics, and economics, the long scenes about the "awakening" of Billie Jean in the hotel room tended to drag.

    One of the best lines in the film is spoken by the couturier who traveled with the women tennis players and designed colorful outfits for them that transcended the bland, white tennis skirts of the era. From his perspective as a designer, he recognized the degree to which he was part of great of a ferment of change, when he remarked to Billie Jean King after her defeat of Bobby Riggs, "Times change; You should know that you just changed them."
  • Irie21228 January 2018
    3/10
    It should have been a comedy.
    The 1973 Riggs-King match was quite a lot of fun when it happened; if it hadn't been appealing as such, it wouldn't have sold out and drawn 50 million viewers besides.

    So why isn't this movie a comedy? Riggs and King, in real life, were so friendly that hers was one of the last voices he heard the day before he died in his comfortable home in Encinitas. In this film, Steve Carell does a skillful job as Riggs, and he's got comic chops like nobody's business, but the character he's given is a gambling addict, an irresponsible husband and father, and a desperate self-promoter.

    As for Billie Jean King, she was not only game for tennis, but game for the grandstanding "Battle of the Sexes" that Riggs rigged up. She was both amused and amusing, and Emma Stone plays her well. Her character is written as the intelligent, witty, determined person that King is-- except when it comes to her sexuality. Then it's gloom and tears.

    If there is one thing feminists need to do, it's deploy their wit. Billie Jean King's story is the real thing: a woman who actually effected change, and she did it with light-hearted flair, which is in very short supply in this tedious film.
  • bettycjung28 January 2018
    7/10
    This will take you back to the way it really went down in 1973!
    1/27/18. This is really a great dramatization of the notorious 1973 confrontation between King and Riggs which reminded me a lot of great American TV in its heyday, like the coverage of Muhammed Ali's fights - all publicity. Stone was really good as King and Carell was right there with Riggs. If you were born after 1973, it's worth watching just to catch up on American cultural history. It may have been just a tennis match at the time, but the repercussions of King's courage to fight for equal pay was a worthy cause that still has some ways to go in 2018. Worth catching!
  • Michelle27 January 2018
    6/10
    aEnjoyable but disjointed, lacks focus
    "Could have been so much better" was my gut-feeling after watching this film. I'm not sure the filmmakers knew what exactly they were making a film about; feminism? Billie Jean King finding her lesbian side? Bobby Riggs's gambling problem & marriage? a big splashy TV event with a guy played by Steve Carrell doing funny things?

    They never decided, and it's too bad because there's so much that's really good in this film. I personally wish they'd just made it a rise-of-feminism/BJK biopic with the Battle of the Sexes as the climax, and left out all the Bobby-Riggs-personal-life stuff which didn't really have any place in this film other than to give Steve Carell more screen time. The equal-pay / BJK story was far more complex and interestingly told.

    That said, still worth a watch, if only for the historical "wow that really happened!" realization. And of course Emma Stone and Steve Carell are great. :)
  • Harrison Tweed (Top Dawg)21 January 2018
    8/10
    Great performances by Emma Stone and Steve Carell
    Funny to see all those offended over a simple biographical drama crying sexism and politics. Too bad those can't simply enjoy a great film with great acting and directing. It was an interesting story told very well. 8/10 from me
  • highmaster1621 January 2018
    9/10
    Absolutely captivating
    Battle of the Sexes is a very important movie telling a story that everybody should know. The acting is terrific all over the cast, especially Sarah Silverman who in my opinion gives one of the best performances of her career. It is emotional and the match at the end is incredibly well shot. I think it deserves to be nominated for a couple Oscars, and surprisingly even though the story takes place in 1973, it is relevant in today's world too.
  • TxMike20 January 2018
    Retelling of the 1970s tennis matches towards equality for women.
    Warning: Spoilers
    My wife and I watched this at home on DVD from a Redbox rental. We both remember the real events well, she as a 20-yr-old college student and tennis player, I as a sports fan in general. Plus the featured match was played right here in Houston, at the still relatively new Astrodome.

    The actors are age-appropriate. Emma Stone, nearing 30, plays near 30 Billie Jean King, who in her prime was the #1 tennis player on the ladies circuit. Steve Carell, mid 50s, plays mid-50s Bobby Riggs, former men's championship tennis player. Riggs in retirement was mostly a hustler and gambler but still had pretty good game.

    So the featured match in this movie is the $100,000 challenge that Riggs made to King, and the tennis is done very nicely.

    The other half of the story dwells on King's bisexuality, she was married to Larry King but also became involved with a woman, here portrayed as her hair dresser. Plus her unwavering efforts to gain equality in prize money for the women, an uphill battle in the sport controlled by men who looked at women's tennis as an inferior side show.

    Overall the movie is faithful to the original story, the two lead actors are very good in their roles, we enjoyed the movie very much.
  • johnny-burgundy20 January 2018
    7/10
    It was only an average film, but the acting was superb.
    Battle of the Sexes (2017) This is a biographical sports drama film. It is loosely based on the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. The film stars Emma Stone and Steve Carell as King and Riggs, with Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell, Bill Pullman, and Sarah Silverman. It received positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances of Stone and Carell. Both Carell and Stone earned Golden Globe nominations for their work. It was only an average film, but I do agree the acting was superb.
  • Andrew McKenley17 January 2018
    1/10
    It's Okaaaaaaaaay!
    Very disappointed. Several times I was tempted to turn it off however I was hoping it would turn around. This is a lesbian flick! Beware!
  • kz917-116 January 2018
    4/10
    Good but not great...
    Emma Stone and Steve Carell really do disappear into the roles they play. But it felt like the movie was just lacking something. Enjoyable enough, worth a rental.
  • PeterS14 January 2018
    2/10
    Really ??
    Given the pretty decent reviews, my wife and I were looking forward to an easy-watching amusing rental movie. We were prepared for a certain level of PC, sermonizing and revisionism but this did not turn out the be an issue. What was, however, was the acting, direction and script. Not to mention the choice of music in some of the scenes. Steve Carell seemed to be playing .... Steve Carell. And a 1-dimensional version to boot. Emily Stone - a fine actress - was bland in the role of Billy Jean; and some of the other performances were worse. The dialog at times was banal but not bad enough to make this a truly awful and therefore high enjoyable move - cf. "The Room". My wife gave up halfway but I was determined to watch it to the end given that I had rented it from Redbox at a net cost of 27 cents after applying my coupon. However, I could not stomach anymore and had to quit just before the match. It is not often that I feel that I did not get value for money at 27 cents.
  • adonis98-743-18650313 January 2018
    1/10
    Where's the Message to it?
    The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs. Half Sexist, Half LGBTQ, All Forced Political Agendas and no offense but this New Generation? is so offensive to anything and with everyone and above all this film wouldn't even exist 10 years ago and as for the film or the story itself? It's garbage from the characters, to the actors perfomances to everything really but don't worry SJW will love it. (0/10)
  • classicalsteve13 January 2018
    8/10
    Focus on King's Sexual Laison and Rigg's Nuttiness Compromise Basically the Most Powerful Episode of the Women's Movement
    The famous (or infamous) tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone), female tennis superstar, and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), former tennis champion and vocal bigot, coincided with other women's movements. For example, women professionals in the other fields, such as newspapers, picketed in their respective businesses. While the film generally portrayed the story of the match, I believe where this film failed was to bring into the larger context. Ultimately this story was not just about a middle-aged former tennis champion, albeit a bigoted one who claimed that women couldn't play sports, being put in his place by the best female tennis player of her generation go far beyond the foul lines. This was a microcosm of the larger conflict in which women were arguing that they had as much right to be in the workplace and enjoy the benefits of their labors as men. Still in this country, we have a salary gap between men and women, although certainly the gap is closing fast.

    The tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs was perhaps the climactic moment in the Women's Movement of the 1970's. As one reporter put it, it was the most meaningful meaningless tennis match in sports history. In other words, it was meaningful because it proved that yes, women could play sports with as much zeal, enthusiasm and prowess as men. It was meaningless only in the sense that this was not a "grand slam" tournament of some kind. Neither King nor Riggs would gain anything in the tennis rankings from this one-off.

    The film begins with King (Emma Stone) winning one of her many grand slam events. Next we learn about the struggle of women tennis players trying to gain recognition that their brand of tennis was at least of equal value to men. In several tournaments prior to the WTA, the women's prize money was only a fraction of the men, even though many finals matches on the women's side was sold out. Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman), former tennis champion and promoter-executive of professional tennis, is portrayed as the "villain" of the story, even more than Bobby Riggs.

    In a meeting (which may or may not be fictitious), Kramer meets with King and other female players who solicit him to increase the prize money for tournaments he produces and promotes on the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association. He declines with the rationale that the men's game makes much more money than the women's game. The women counter that the difference in prize money is 8 times, which would mean that the men's game makes 8-times as much money as the women's. Apparently, the showdown between Kramer and the top stars of women's tennis did happen, and nine players, including King, were barred from the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association tour, and the other women create the Virginia Slims Tour in retaliation, which finally forced the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association to merge with them. This much is factually accurate although the tour happened two years before the Battle of the Sexes match.

    The Virginia Slims Tennis Tour will eventually evolve into what is now the WTA, the Women's Tennis Association. I felt this part of the film was the strongest. The film then delves into two aspects of the personal lives of King and her rival Riggs. King with a spontaneous affair with a hairdresser and Riggs with his inability to stop gambling addictions. For some reason, I felt these episodes were a bit less interesting than focusing on the match and the implications of the Women's Movement.

    Still, great performances by Stone and Carell who captured the essences of their characters. Carell in particular features the nuttier antics of Riggs who honestly believed he could beat any female player (professional or otherwise) while sitting in a lawn chair. When the match finally happens, it's a great climactic event and saves the movie. The seed was that Riggs had beaten current no. 1 female tennis player, Margaret Court, portrayed as the well-mannered British player who would always do what she was told. A very good film but not quite a great one.
  • martinkarchner11 January 2018
    9/10
    A Film For The Times
    I really enjoyed the film and felt the performances were spot on! Especially, after then reading up about Billie Jean King and what she was up against as a professional female athlete in the 1970's. Both Emma Stone and Steve Carell hit home runs portraying their characters! At first, I thought I would find it odd to see them onscreen in these roles after their father/daughter roles in the film "Crazy, Stupid, Love". But, they each embodied their characters so well it was never a thought. I found the film entertaining and very timely with all that is currently going on in Hollywood(and everywhere really) with regards to the heightened conversations about equality. It is true that women are viewed and treated much differently than men. Not only in sports, but in every occupation. Watching this only made me realize how far we still need to go in this antiquated viewpoint. Not so much has changed. With this said, it is a well written, well acted film that tells Billie Jean King's story. I didn't know much about her before watching this and I'm very happy they made this film.
  • sznhgn11 January 2018
    8/10
    Very enjoyable and entertaining
    Emma Stone and Steve Carrel keep this movie interesting. I'd never really paid attention to that story when it was happening in real life, so it was a good reminder of that event, not to mention of how things were back in the day. We've come a lot farther than we think on women's issues--not that there isn't room for more change. It was easy to watch and moved at a good pace. But beyond the women's issue--it was a great story about stepping up to the plate, taking risk, and the competitive spirit. We both enjoyed it.
  • Miguel Neto10 January 2018
    6/10
    wasted potential
    Battle of the Sexes had the potential to be a lot better than it was, it has a cool story, the direction of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris is good and he manages to direct very cool and dynamic tennis scenes, but he fret in character development and in scenes that should be dramatic enough to fiddle with the viewer, have scenes that had a lot of potential to be very exciting but the medium script and a direction that makes a lot of mistakes seems to be just a forced scene, the cast that stands out is Steve Carrel in a good performance and Emma Stone that is also very well, but honestly neither of them is level to be indicated to oscar, is a movie that when it ends is going to be a feeling of disappointment of something that could have been much better. Note 6.0
  • leaugebrett9 January 2018
    5/10
    Great Acting, Mediocre Usage of the Source Material
    Warning: Spoilers
    The highpoint of the largely unfocused Battle of the Sexes is Carell and Stone's acting, coupled with the intriguing blend of modern day filmmaking techniques and 70's flair from directors Dayton and Faris.

    Unfortunately, the film tries to juggle too many aspects of Billie Jean King's life in messy procedure (personal issues and relationships, public image, corporate relationship) while Carell is largely playing a caricature of Bobby Riggs instead of a believable individual. Instead of focusing on the main conflict of the movie (the actual sport of tennis from two respective titans of the sport) the audience is treated to glossy montages and rushed character development leading up to a pitiful final act.
  • Harry T. Yung9 January 2018
    More micro romance drama than macro social issue
    Warning: Spoilers
    Early in the movie, in a confrontation (one of many throughout the movie), tennis tycoon Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman) tries to enlighten Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) to the obvious tennis fact-of-life that "people pay to see men play". At around the same time (1973) I remember reading an article in "Sports Illustrated" entitled "Four Queens Make A Full House". It eludes me whether that was before or after this iconic match, but that really doesn't matter. Changes were coming, and this "battle of the sexes" has been generally recognized as a significant catalyst.

    Two of the "four queens" appeared in the movie: King and Margaret Court (Jessica McNamee). The third was Evonne Goolagong, Australian Aboriginal whose natural, graceful movement on court was described not as "running" but as "floating". The fourth, Chris Evert, was the women's counterpart of Bjorn Borg in the context of their tenacious playing style. "Players thinking of outlasting them in a match by playing into the next day better think again. They are prepared to play into the next week!", someone once said.

    This was the time in sports history when the Miami Dolphins ruled the NFL and the Montreal Canadiens the NHL. In tennis, wooden rackets were still the only kind available (hard to imagine, I know), and the most popular brand had the signature of Jack Kramer on it!

    So much for backdrop of the spectator sports universe. Back to the movie. There seems to be a general consensus among critics that this is a good movie, but fails to go deep enough into the key issue of pay equality for women in tennis. Maybe it is just me, but these critics all seem to gloss over another equally significant theme, King's relationship with her lover, hair dresser Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough), a "phase", as her husband Larry King (Austin Stowell) said in the movie. Still, the movie could use an alternative title "A hard choice for Billie Jean: Marilyn or tennis".

    That story is well known to tennis players. At that time, even the non-tennis-playing public's imagination was set on fire by this "circus". Over-the-hill champion, compulsive gambler, sort of a hustler, bit of a clown and, best of all, a self-proclaimed male chauvinist pig, Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) somehow is inspired by the idea of challenging the top woman tennis player to a match. King, fully focusing on promoting her quest of a women's tour, flatly turns him down. When Court defeats King (on any given day, any of these top players could beat any other) in a match and becomes number one, she also becomes ready prey for Riggs. The result is one-sided, Riggs beating Court easily. But the fact that Court beats King and Riggs beats Court does not automatically mean that Riggs will beat King on any given day. The challenge has become something that King cannot afford to decline. In the match that becomes a major entertainment event, King beats Riggs in three straight sets. This is the tennis part of the story.

    The other story has been given almost equal attention as tennis (if not equal screen time). While the tennis match is tackled with sarcastic humor, the love affair is handled with tender loving care. Barnett, an experienced lesbian lover, initiates the relationship with King who hitherto has only one person in her love life - her husband. But, even more importantly, love life is not her priority. Tennis is. The alternative title I suggested above tells all.

    2018 Golden Globe results were announced yesterday. Emma Stone did not win Best Actress back-to-back, and she was not expected to. Still, the nomination gives her recognition for tackling a role that can arguably be considered casting against type. While not reaching the height of Gary Oldman as Churchill (doubt if anybody can), Stone did a good job in hiding the sweet darling of a persona and bringing up a woman that sometimes is almost sexless (especially when concentrating on tennis). It is through the superb, sensuous portrayal of Marilyn by Andrea Riseborough that the sensuous side of Billie Jean is brought to the surface. Steve Carell's Bobby Riggs as crafted in this movie leans towards being favorable, "humanized" as one critic puts it. There is solid support from the rest of the cast: Sarah Silverman as the no-nonsense tour manager Gladys Heldman, Natalie Morales as outspoken buddy Rosie Casals, Elisabeth Shue as Riggs's rich and ultimately tolerant wife Priscalla, as well as aforementioned Pullman, McNamee and Stowell. Personally, a great delight is to see archived footage of the one and only Howard Cosell, who at that time owned Monday nights TV screens in the NFL season. As well, there is a blink-and-you'll-miss footage of Chris Evert intimating in an interview that she gave King the better odds.
  • tedjordan-863387 January 2018
    4/10
    Was expecting more
    Was great to see more backstory of Billie Jean and lesbian issues.

    Was disappointed in that it says it's a "Comedy". Even though most of the actors were comedians, it's not a funny movie. I hate when comedians want to become serious.

    Movie tackles big issues. It's a Drama. That's it, and good retelling of the big event.

    As a tennis fan it hurt me most to learn that one of my favorite players, Jack Kramer, was a male chauvinist. I owned his racquet. Loved his racquet. Loved his tennis. Please don't tell me more about Rod Laver or Roger Federer. It just might crush me to nothing.
  • mihaicalinescu_20007 January 2018
    4/10
    Cheesy, disregarding the 2 very tallented actor-leads
    Cheap dramatization, poorly mise-en-scene despite the 2 very versatile actor-leads. There are 2 tennis movies this year. Biorg vs. McEnroe wins in this category this year.There was no dramatic tension, no thrill... it was just the fact that women's liberating tennis player should win. She won.Don't misunderstand: I am a fan of equal rights and feminism but I find this movie simply cheesy.
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