It is second nature for movie audiences to focus on stars, and since Emma Stone just won an Oscar last February for her candy-colored performance in La La Land, her new role as tennis star Billie Jean King is sure to be the focus of the most media interest.
So here is my advice: Do not go into the theatre looking for the "Billie Jean King BioPic" starring Emma Stone, because if you do, you might well be disappointed.
Battle of the Sexes is not a Billie Jean King BioPic. Battle of the Sexes is an acute snapshot of a fascinating moment in USA history with eerie relevance to today.
Set in 1973,Battle of the Sexes takes place in an era when a aging sports figure well past his prime could fascinate the media by issuing outlandish challenges to highly-qualified women, all the time wearing a t-shirt loudly proclaiming himsef as a "male chauvinist pig." And how did other men react to his behavior? They cheered him on in exclusive male-only clubs and proudly betted on him in public.His major sponsor was the candy company "Sugar Daddy." Think about it? A candy company "Sugar Daddy" but its logo on a self-described MCP and that was considered perfectly fine. OMG
Kudos to co-directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton for their brilliant evocation of this microcosmic nightmare and to screenwriter Simon Beaufoy who won an Oscar for his Slumdog Millionaire screenplay. (JLH: 4.5/5)
Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton are best-known as the co-directors of the much-loved film Little Miss Sunshine from 2006. Click here to read my interview with this phenomenal couple -- partners in love and live!
"Jon: Even though we don’t wear our genders on our sleeves, you can’t deny that life experience as a man or a woman doesn’t inform the creative choices that you make... Val: It’s funny; I think we don’t really fall into those more classic male/female roles, but I’m sure if somebody observed us…" Dayton/Faris '06
© Jan Lisa Huttner (9/23/17) FF2 Media
Full review coming soon from FF2 Associate Kimi Kumar.
Top Photo: Steve Carell as "Bobby Riggs" wears the logo of his oblivious sponsor 🙁
Bottom Photo: Emma Stone as "Billie Jean King" fights for equal rights including pay equity 🙂
Photos by Melinda Sue Gordon © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Q: Does Battle of the Sexes pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test?