‘Battle of the Sexes’ Brings Starry Vehemence to the Big Screen

Stone and Carell duke it out in character.
Photo courtesy of IMDB

By GABRIELLA BOCK | Reporter

Kicking off this year’s fall Oscar season is the feminist sports comedy “Battle of the Sexes.”

Directed by Palisadians Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris—the married directorial duo that gave us 2005’s quintessential indie flick “Little Miss Sunshine”—the film tells the story of the staged, man vs. woman tennis match between women’s world champion Billie Jean King, a 29-year-old lesbian, and retired men’s champ Bobby Riggs, a 55-year-old showboating chauvinist.

Starring Academy Award-winner Emma Stone as King and Steve Carell as Riggs, this entertaining, if not slightly glamorized, take on 1973’s most-watched televised event is a timely film that hits its much-intended mark of social relevancy.

King, a known advocate for gender equality and social justice, was part of the original nine women who formed the Women’s Tennis Association after growing tired of receiving less pay than their male counterparts.

Following her portrayal as King, Stone herself joins the growing list of Hollywood actresses who have recently spoken out against the persisting wage gap between men and women: Patricia Arquette, Jessica Chastain, Natalie Portman and Oprah Winfrey have all been outspoken advocates for equal pay.

“For them to risk all they risked, and for her, with all she was going through in that one part of her life, to be so strong is amazing,” Stone said in an interview with Forbes. “We stand on her shoulders in the fight for equality. And to think that it all started with a young girl who had vulnerabilities and fears, and yet had the courage to speak out … I think that is a great story to share with the world right now.”

Also starring Palisadian Elisabeth Shue, Sarah Silverman and Bill Pullman, “Battle of the Sexes” is now playing in select theaters.