Millennial Note: Manila Millennial would like to thank our guest writer, Tin Manzano, for a well-thought-of review of 20th Century Fox’s ‘Battle of the Sexes’!
Battle of the Sexes is a film that everybody should see. It paints the world’s perspective during the 1970s, as to how they treat and view female athletes and their abilities. I was dumbfounded when I found out it was based on a true events that had forever changed the landscape for athletes. I was disgusted for the most part that people viewed females lowly compared to their male counterparts, which I never understood because gender is not a measure of one’s skills and capability. Watching tennis games now, I never thought that it would be so different back then. And to add to the eye-sore of chauvinistic demeanor of the people, is the glorification it gets from the masses and people supported and displayed this kind of behavior. People loved the circus that Bobby Riggs (played by Steve Carell) showed — how he looked lowly on his opponent, that it would not take much effort to put Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) in her place. But where should someone like Billie Jean be? It was an answer that the game decided. The men of power all agreed that female athletes are not worth much unlike their prized male athletes. But the ladies knew otherwise and took their stand to prove it. Billie Jean knew that their place and their worth are just like their male colleagues and it was a terrifyingly huge leap to prove it. And prove it, they did!
The struggle for Billie Jean and Bobby was not just the battle itself. It was also intertwined with their own personal lives. This part of the movie made me see them more as humans separate from their tennis player personas. Billie Jean and her struggle to grasp her sexuality and the secrecy of it all was a twist that made her seem more real. It was liberating to see her finally accept and admit to herself what her heart desires, although it was heartbreaking to see her breakdown as the world she built around her and her husband collapse. The way I see it, she had two very different types of relationships with her lover and her husband. It was comfort and security that made her love her husband, but it was the fun and freedom to be what she wanted and what she enjoyed that made her see her lover. I guess the deciding factor of who she ended up with is the acceptance that she attained in herself. She was who she was when she was with Marilyn. Bobby, on the other hand, was also dealing with his own problems. He had his demons to keep at bay, but it was too strong for him to handle. His gambling had caused him his family and he was desperate to prove himself to other people. It was sad to see him without his cloak of faux masculine supremacy when in fact he was just a sad old man grappling to see himself in a better light. I felt angry and at the same time sorry for this man who was so wrapped up and blinded by his ego that he saw it as the only way to redeem himself to his family and to his own.
Battle of the Sexes was more than just a tennis game. It was more than just the struggle for equal treatment. It was also a metaphor for the battle that the players and the people around them were fighting. Everybody was at the edge of their seats with every rally of the ball and score being tallied. It was a make-or-break moment for everyone who were watching the game.
The game ended with justice being served, it was a victory for all those who were oppressed and a slap for the chauvinists. And for us, the audience, it was a lesson learned and an inspiration to take.
For more details about the movie, official trailer, and thoughts from Emma herself, click on this link.
Written by: Tin Manzano, Millennial Correspondent