Special Presentations

Battle of the Sexes

Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton

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Emma Stone and Steve Carell star in this recreation of the legendary 1973 tennis match that pitted Billie Jean King against Bobby Riggs.

The 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs was a turning point in the politics of their game. Scripted by Academy Award winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and directed by Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton (Little Miss Sunshine), Battle of the Sexes is a rousing recreation of that moment, featuring winning performances from leads Emma Stone and Steve Carell.

King (Stone) is a champion athlete and an outspoken feminist in her professional life, but her personal life is a struggle. Her marriage is failing. Her closeted sexuality feels like a distraction. Outraged that the National Tennis League won't allow equal pay for men and women, King founds her own tour with Gladys Heldman (Sarah Silverman) as manager. Riggs (Carell) is decades removed from his last championship. Facing dwindling finances and desperate to win back his ex-wife (Elisabeth Shue), he proposes a publicity-snaring challenge: a $100,000 winner-take-all match. King is more than game.

The film reminds us just how much blatant sexism pervaded the so-called sexual revolution. But it also shows the great strides made by trailblazers like King.

Bursting with colourful period production design and costumes, Battle of the Sexes is as fleet and fun as it is politically acute, and Stone and Carell make hugely enjoyable adversaries.

CAMERON BAILEY

location_on Ryerson Theatre

stars Premium

location_on Scotiabank 3

theaters Press

location_on Scotiabank 1

theaters Press

location_on Princess of Wales

theaters Regular

location_on Scotiabank 12

theaters Press

location_on Princess of Wales

theaters Regular

location_on Ryerson Theatre

theaters Regular