This article contains mild spoilers for Battle of the Sexes, which is currently playing in cinemas across Australia.
There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a self-labelled “male chauvinist pig” getting his butt well and truly kicked.
That’s what Emma Stone’s new movie, Battle of the Sexes, offers you. The chance to witness a moment in history where the good guy (well, girl) won and the bad guy had to admit that behind all of his bravado, he was just a little bit pathetic.
Battle of the Sexes tells the story of the legendary 1973 ‘Battle of the Sexes’ exhibition tennis match, where 29-year-old Billie Jean King – the No.1 ranked women’s tennis player – took on Bobby Riggs, a 55-year-old former tennis champion.
Yep, there was a time in history where the world thought a woman at the top of her game couldn’t beat a man who had long since retired from the sport.
The (oh so satisfying) match at the end of the movie is only part of the story though. To get there, Billie Jean King has to overcome her own fears and bravely lead the quiet revolution that would change the culture of tennis forever.
When Riggs (played by Steve Carell) first challenges King to the match she refuses, and instead launches the Women’s Tennis Association alongside publisher Gladys Heldman (Sarah Silverman) after Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman) rejects the idea of paying the female tennis players anything close to what the male players were earning.
In doing this King proves that publicly she’s able to stand up for what she believes in, but privately she’s unable to face the problems in her own marriage and admit – even to herself – that she’s attracted to women.
It’s only when Riggs challenges and beats Margaret Court – and subsequently announces that he’s the ‘number one women’s tennis player in the world’ – that King decides to take him on.