I went to see this film because I love both Emma Stone and Steve Carell, the two stars, and I have been known to spend many hours on the couch during the Australian Open, indulging in tennis. I was not disappointed.
Stone plays Bille Jean King and Carell plays Bobby Riggs, both tennis greats in the USA, who played a match in 1973 to see who was the greater player.
I have so much to say about this film and yet, just like the film, I want to leave a lot of space around it. There are so many unsaid things in this story, so much quiet to hear the words that are almost to painful for both characters to express–sexuality, for King, and a gambling addiction for Riggs. Compassion overflows throughout the dialogue and story, and Carell doesn’t disappoint; he is as fabulously funny as ever, with real depths of pathos to his role.
This film made me uncomfortable in the sense that it was difficult to watch the truly disgraceful disparity in male and female power in that era (and the appalling way female tennis players were treated), and the icy feeling that, in truth, not much has changed.
(Also, can we pause a moment to feel some respect for Australian champion Margaret Court who was travelling halfway around the world WITH A BABY and couldn’t even afford a decent hotel room let alone a nanny?!?)
I loved this film through and through.