Based on a true story, BATTLE OF THE SEXES depicts the 1972 event where women’s tennis champ Billie Jean King accepted a challenge from former men’s tennis champion Bobby Riggs to determine whether males or females are superior athletes. BATTLE starts with Billie Jean King as the women’s tennis champion of the world. However, she’s mad women don’t receive the same pay as men, even though often do sell just as many tickets. As Billie Jean engages in a lesbian affair, breaking her husband’s heart, she agrees to the match with Bobby Riggs, who taunts and mocks women players.
BATTLE OF THE SEXES zips along at a fast pace despite its two-hour running time. The score provides a fun, catchy mix of orchestral instruments and 1970s music. Sadly, the movie focuses a lot of time on Billie Jean’s lesbian lusts and affair, with a scene that should have given the movie an R rating instead of a PG-13. Ultimately, BATTLE OF THE SEXES has an excessively strong Romantic, pro-homosexual worldview with strong politically correct, feminist elements, mitigated by some light moral, redemptive elements.
(RoRoRo, HoHoHo, PCPC, FeFe, B, C, L, SS, N, A, DD, MM) Very strong Romantic, pro-homosexual worldview with a strong politically correct, pro-feminist attitude and very strong pro-homosexual messages and overt content, mitigated by scenes showing husband of main female character is devastated by her lesbian affair with another woman, and eventually he forgives her, they divorce, and he marries a better woman, plus the other main male character has a gambling problem but reconciles with his own wife; no obscenities but several light profanities; no violence; strong sexual content not only shows a lesbian affair and promotes a pro-homosexual viewpoint but also centers on a lesbian relationship between a married woman, who is portrayed as “closeted”, and another woman, who says she has a boyfriend, single woman with a boyfriend seduces a married woman, a very sensuously filmed conversation occurs during a haircut one woman does for the other woman, women share a hotel room while saying they’ll have separate beds, but they start kissing and necking passionately almost immediately, when alone together, one woman unzips the other’s blouse and lifts it over her head to reveal her bra before the scene cuts away, women are later seen lying in bed together, and it’s implied they’re both nude, at another point one woman is kissing and necking the other passionately in bed before a phone call interrupts them, movie shows recurring characters of two homosexual men who design the women players’ colorful outfits, and one says at the end to the secretly gay married woman that someday they’ll be free to love who they wish openly, and the married woman at first expresses regrets about her affair, but they soon re-engage their sexual connection, and it’s portrayed very romantically, with lots of kissing and hand-holding; male celebrity is shown posing implied nude as a joke, but his pubic hair briefly peeks above a pillow in a still photo while his privates and rear end are blocked by a pillow as he’s being photographed, woman wears bra in a bedroom scene, single woman is shown walking away from the bed in her panties and with a bare back, and scenes show middle-aged men shirtless while cleaning up in a locker room; smoking, cigarette company sponsors a tennis match on national television, and man is shown taking excessive vitamins and some likely illegal prescriptions to increase his strength and stamina for tennis matches; and, man makes crass chauvinistic comments, but they’re part of his act to gain attention and money and fame, man is a hopeless gambler and risks his finances and marriage over it, gambling scenes are often clever and humorous in nature and thus making them appealing before their bad effects are eventually shown, end credits say the man kept gambling the rest of his life, cheating, and end credits say man let his lesbian ex-wife and her eventual lesbian “partner” become his children’s godparents, and movie seems to approve of that situation and other homosexual references.
Based on a true story, BATTLE OF THE SEXES depicts the 1972 event where women’s tennis champion Billie Jean King accepted a challenge from former men’s tennis champion Bobby Riggs in 1972 to determine whether males or females are superior athletes, plus King’s lesbian affair and its effect on her marriage. BATTLE OF THE SEXES is very well made and entertaining, but it has an excessively strong Romantic, pro-homosexual worldview with strong politically correct, feminist elements, mitigated by some light moral, redemptive elements.
BATTLE starts with Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) shown as the unstoppable women’ tennis champion of the world. However, she and her attorney Gladys Heldman (Susan Silverman) are mad that she is paid far less than the male champions and challenge the pro tennis association leaders to pay equally. When they laugh, King breaks off and forms her own women’s tennis association.
Throughout, the issue of whether she’s a feminist comes up, and King replies her concern is almost solely on equal financial treatment for women athletes. As she nears her women’s association announcement, she meets a hairstylist named Marilyn (Riseborough), who’s very seductive as she cuts King’s hair in an extended, sensuously filmed sequence.
Soon, Marilyn is invited on the tour as the women’s hairstylist, since they rely on media appearances, and Billie Jean and Marilyn begin a lesbian affair. The make out scenes are surprisingly intense for a PG-13 movie, stronger than most homosexual couples are portrayed in similarly rated movies.
At first, Billie Jean and Marilyn are shown embarking on their affair flirtatiously and happily at first. However, Billie Jean is torn about the effect on her husband since her feelings have been closeted within a heterosexual marriage. When her husband Larry (Austin Stowell) finds out, he is shown to be emotionally devastated, yet he doesn’t confront her, simply leaving her behind, because he believes in her cause for women’s equality and says they can resolve their relationship issues later. He remains a steadfast friend and supporter to her campaign for equal pay.
Meanwhile, former men’s tennis champ Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), who is 55 while King is 29, challenges a female champ to play him for a large monetary prize in the hopes of showing that males are superior and colorfully rebuke the burgeoning feminist movement. When he defeats one female champ, he challenges King for a $100,000 winner-take-all prize that she can’t refuse after turning him down for an initial match.
Riggs’ inveterate and humorously portrayed gambling addiction impacts his marriage. Also, the movie humorously contrasts his tennis training with King’s serious efforts. Their clashing styles capture the nation’s attention and make for an entertaining series of confrontations.
BATTLE OF THE SEXES overtly portrays the real-life lesbian affair that King engaged in at the time, but it puts a strongly positive viewpoint on the relationship overall. Impressively, however, it adds some depth by showing the emotional damage that Billie Jean’s affair wrought on her husband. In a major subplot, the movie also adds some depth on how Bobby Riggs’ gambling addiction affects his own marriage. Larry shows some undeserved forgiveness and grace toward his wife’s affair, and there is eventually some forgiveness and reconciliation between Riggs and his wife.
Emma Stone delivers a richly layered performance as Billie Jean King, mixing strong determination for her cause with her emotional confusion in her personal life. Stone also displays strong wit in bantering and verbally jousting with Bobby Riggs, whose chauvinist comments are often outrageous and probably just a touch exaggerated to hype his match with Billie Jean. As Bobby, Steve Carell has a distinctly smaller role for the first half, adding a healthy dose of colorful humor before showing an impressive emotional depth as events turn against Riggs later.
The movie zips along with a fast pace despite its two-hour running time. Also, the score by Nicholas Britell provides an entertaining mix of orchestral instruments and 1970s-style keyboards, with a few big 1970s-era hits mixed in at key points to great effect. Aside from the movie’s focus on the lesbian relationship and its impact, BATTLE OF THE SEXES is a very entertaining movie. It’s a shame the filmmakers didn’t choose to focus on the tennis matches and the battle of principles featuring Billie Jean and Bobby rather than Billie Jean’s adulterous lesbian affair.
Overall, BATTLE is an extremely well-made movie artistically. Also, its politically correct agenda will likely help it become a contender for critics’ honors and the Oscars at the end of the year. While BILLIE JEAN King was regarded as a feminist icon at the time, throughout the movie she notes that her focus is simply to get equal prize money for women regardless of physical ability in comparison to men, because the women were selling just as many tickets. Getting equal pay for equal work and equal results is fine, but the movie’s extremely positive portrayal of homosexuality detracts from its strengths. Also, anyone thinking about seeing BATTLE OF THE SEXES need to take note that the movie’s lesbian scenes are too intense for the PG-13 rating it received.
Ultimately, the rather salacious pro-homosexual content in BATTLE OF THE SEXES makes the movie unacceptable viewing for media-wise people with a modicum of moral conscience. Though the movie shows that the lesbian lusts of the women are harmful to other people, in the end the movie endorses today’s far left, politically correct, immoral, pseudo-scientific view of homosexual behavior.
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