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At this point you probably know what kind of movie watcher you are, whether it’s a comedy buff, an action aficionado, or a drama devotee.
But sometimes a movie transcends genre—it incorporates elements of so many different movie types that by the time it’s finished, you have no idea how to classify it. TIFF 2017’s Battle of the Sexes, about an infamous 1973 match between pro tennis players Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) is one of those movies.
Whether you’re a drama or a comedy fan, a sucker for romance or a lover of suspense, Battle of the Sexes has got something for you. Keep reading to find out what to look forward to, whatever your taste.
Ok, so this one’s the most obvious. Battle of the Sexes is about a sport (namely, tennis), and it’s about people (namely, Billie Jean King) who fight and work hard to be the best at that sport. And like with any good sports movie (Rocky, Rudy, etc.), our protagonist is definitely a lovable underdog.
Luckily nobody gets (spoiler alert) killed or seriously injured in Battle of the Sexes. But there are some sincere, serious moments in the movie nonetheless. Billie Jean’s under a lot of pressure to win against Bobby and stand up for the rights of not only female athletes, but of women in general. So yes, we do get to see Emma Stone turn on the waterworks—and we get to see her be a justifiably angry badass.
Despite the turmoil and the stress and the rampant, frustrating sexism the characters have to endure, Battle of the Sexes is actually a really funny movie. Unsurprisingly, Carell as the clownish and arrogant Bobby Riggs supplies the majority of the laughs. Watch out for the scene where Bobby dresses up as Little Bo Peep and herds a group of literal sheep around the tennis court. Sarah Silverman also kills it as Billie Jean’s brassy, witty tour manager, Gladys.
The chemistry between Emma Stone as Billie Jean and Andrea Riseborough as Billie Jean’s lover, Marilyn, is undeniable. Seriously—Stone and Riseborough manage to make something as mundane as getting a haircut seem sensual, which is something we never thought we’d say. Unfortunately Billie Jean and Marilyn have to go to great lengths to hide their mutual attraction, but that just makes the scenes where they agree to let their guards down all the more satisfying.
Move over, Shutter Island. Who needs you, Memento? Battle of the Sexes gives you all the action and suspense of a Hitchcock movie in a fraction of the time.
…ok, so that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But the movie’s still super gripping. Even if you know the outcome, the final match between Billie Jean and Bobby is a total nail-biter. Also, there’s a tense encounter between Marilyn and Billie Jean’s husband, Larry, that we guarantee will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.