For all the memories that the new movie Battle of the Sexes may generate, this detailed recreation of tennis in 1973 is less a tale of sport than an exploration of bravery to confront personal truth. While the film may make us chuckle at how we once lived, it should make us think about the standards we held. This perceptive look at days gone by reminds us that battles for fairness and equality never end. They simply begin new games, sets and matches.
Filmmakers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris — who gave us Little Miss Sunshine — let us know, from the start, this movie will unfold at two levels. Flying high above the crowd is the exaggerated presence of Bobby Riggs, a former tennis champion now trapped in a life of habitual gambling, marital tension and professional disappointment. But he knows how to wow a crowd and work his base. He initiates a new phase of self-promotion by inviting female tennis players Margaret Court and Billie Jean King to join him for ultimate battles between male and female athletes.