It might be hard for me to express how satisfying it is to watch a hardworking woman beat an entitled sexist prick on an international stage.
Battle of the Sexes is about the real-life tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carrell). It was the most-watched sporting event of its time, and revisiting it now is like two tall glasses of red wine for our abused and blackened souls.
As the washed-up Riggs, Carrell is a braggadocious, self-styled chauvinist—the kind of guy who might be charming if his arrogance weren’t so harmful. (It says something that Carrell can remain so dang likable, and even sympathetic, while embodying such a gross person.) Meanwhile, Stone is a quiet powerhouse.
Battle of the Sexes feels like it could've belonged to King alone, and it's almost always disappointing when the film cuts away from her and back to whatever Riggs is up to. King wasn't just a decent tennis player—she was also fighting for pay equity and discovering her homosexuality at a time when the sponsorship deals that kept her bills paid depended on her wholesome (heterosexual) image.
Battle of the Sexes is directed by the same husband-and-wife team behind the chirpy Little Miss Sunshine, and you can tell—it’s got the same heart and levity that make you want to cry, not from laughing too hard but because life is sad. It's fun and suspenseful, and rounded out by a delightful supporting cast, including Sarah Silverman and Alan Cummings.
Basically, watching a hardworking woman beat an entitled sexist prick on an international stage is glorious, and something I want on instant replay inside my eyelids so I can close my eyes and watch it instead of whatever's actually happening in 2017.
Huh. I guess that wasn’t hard to express after all.