Starring: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Natalie Morales, Bill Pullman, Elizabeth Shue, Alan Cumming, Eric Christian Olsen, Fred Armisen, Austin Stowell
Directed By: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Plot: The film is mostly about Billie Jean King (Stone), and her determination to have more equality in tennis between men and women, and also her closet homosexuality. It’s also somewhat about Bobby Riggs (Carell) and his challenge to King that was deemed the Battle Of The Sexes
What Works: I mostly liked this movie. I think there were some problems, but for the most part, it’s a pretty good film. Emma Stone shines here as King, and is likely to score another Oscar nomination. She carries the film. Instead of this being evenly divided between King and Riggs, it’s mostly King’s story, which allows her to shine through the whole film. Carell is good as Bobby Riggs, but it’s more of a supporting role. As is the performance by Andrea Riseborough as King’s lover. It’s a good performance. Neither of them come close to what Stone does in this film. Heck, I even thought Sarah Silverman was doing some great work. As far as the direction and storytelling, it’s pretty good. This is one of those films that I think is a tad longer than needed, and honestly cutting even 2-3 minutes from this would have made for a tighter film. That’s actually how close it is to being well-paced Everything looks great though, with the costuming being a stand out.
What Doesn’t Work: Some poor direction (just in a few places) drags this film down. There’s a scene where Stone is driving with Riseborough, and Stone spends WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY too much time without her eyes on the road. They would be dead. End of Billie Jean King’s story. Honestly, I would have edited the crap out of that scene so Stone was watching the road more. It was so distracting. While I liked the acting of most actors, I actually didn’t like Elizabeth Shue in this. She’s not in many scenes, but when she is, she very much feels phoned in and lacks any connection or chemistry with Carell. And like I said earlier, slight pacing issues.
FInal Word: If you’re an Emma Stone fan, definitely watch this. Also, if you’re into watching Oscar contenders, I’m telling you… Emma Stone is in this race. Definitely. She’s actually better here than she was in La La Land. In fact, I’d go so far as to say this is her best work to date. I think she’ll be recognized for that achievement with another nomination, maybe even a win. I only have a few problems with the film. None of them are big enough for me to tell you not to see this film. In fact, I still strongly recommend it.
Final Grade: B+