Battle Of The Sexes (12A)

Comedy (2017)
121mins UK/US

Starring: Steve Carell, Emma Stone, Elisabeth Shue, Andrea Riseborough
Director: Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton
Writer(s): Simon Beaufoy
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Billie Jean King and her ballsy manager Gladys Heldman are enraged when Jack Kramer announces prize money for a forthcoming tournament is heavily weighted in favour of male players. In retaliation, King spearheads the creation of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), including her fiercest rival, Margaret Court. As the women-only tour gains in popularity, former men's champion Bobby Riggs, now past his prime, issues a bold challenge to any female player to face him on the court.

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LondonNet Film Review
Battle Of The Sexes (12A)

On a tennis court, love is all around before the first service point. Husband and wife directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who made an auspicious debut in 2006 with Little Miss Sunshine, serve-and-volley a fine romance in their dramatisation of the televised 1973 match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, which was billed as a showdown of youth versus experience as much as a battle of the sexes. Or as Riggs pithily summarises the rivalry in the film: "Male chauvinistic pig versus hairy-legged feminist, no offence."...

Battle Of The Sexes. Copyright: 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Caption: Emma Stone as Billie Jean King and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs in Battle Of The Sexes, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Photo: Melinda Sue Gordon. All Rights Reserved.Scriptwriter Simon Beaufoy, who previously penned The Full Monty and Slumdog Millionaire, elegantly navigates the personal lives of the two protagonists as he explores gender inequalities and sexual identity in the run up to the winner-takes-all contest at the Houston Astrodome in Texas. The fractious face-off provides the film with a gripping conclusion, even if you know the eventual outcome, executed with pinpoint precision and slick digital effects. It's a sophisticated, crowd-pleasing rally of heartache and triumph against adversity, underpinned by a universal messages of acceptance and respect. Game, set and match Dayton and Faris.

Billie Jean (Emma Stone) and her ballsy manager Gladys Heldman (Sarah Silverman) are enraged when Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman), one of the founders of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), announces the prize money for a forthcoming tournament, which is heavily weighted in favour of the male players. "They're faster, stronger and more competitive. It's just biology," argues Kramer. In retaliation, King spearheads the creation of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), including her fiercest rival, Margaret Court (Jessica McNamee). The women-only tour gains in popularity and during one layover, Billie Jean meets hairdresser Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough). The spark of attraction is palpable, even though Billie Jean has an adoring husband, Larry King (Austin Stowell). As Billie Jean agonises with her forbidden desires, former champion Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), now past his prime, issues a bold challenge to any female player to face him on the court. "I'm going to put the show back in chauvinism!" he proudly declares.

Battle Of The Sexes demonstrates a deft touch in lobbing moments of gentle humour into the characters' emotional upheaval. Oscar winner Stone turns in a rich, textured and affecting performance that trumps her excellent work in La La Land as the ladies' standard bearer, who tumbles head over heels in love during arduous preparations for the grudge match. Carell portrays her opponent as a media-savvy showman and buffoon, who is weighed down by the expectations of an establishment that believes, "people pay to see the men play. They're more of a draw". When the tears of his clown start to fall, we're suitably moved.

- Jo Planter

Battle Of The Sexes. Copyright: 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Caption: Emma Stone as Billie Jean King and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs in Battle Of The Sexes, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Photo: Melinda Sue Gordon. All Rights Reserved.

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Rest of UK and Irish Cinemas

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From Friday 8th December
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- Aberdeen, Cineworld Aberdeen - Queens Link
- Ballincollig, The Reel Picture
- Basildon, Cineworld Basildon
- Basingstoke, Odeon Basingstoke
- Basingstoke, Vue Basingstoke Festival Place
- Bath, Odeon Bath
- Bedford, Vue Bedford
- Belfast, Movie House Dublin Road
- Belfast, Odeon Belfast
- Birkenhead, Vue Birkenhead
- Birmingham, Cineworld Birmingham NEC
- Birmingham, Empire Birmingham Great Park
- Bishop's Stortford, Empire Bishop's Stortford
- Blackburn, Vue Blackburn
- Blackpool, Odeon Blackpool
- Boldon Colliery, Cineworld Boldon Tyne And Wear
- Bolton, Cineworld Bolton
- Bolton, Vue Bolton
- Bootle, Odeon Liverpool Switch Island
- Bournemouth, Odeon Bournemouth BH2
- Bracknell, Odeon Bracknell
- Bradford, Odeon Leeds-Bradford
- Braintree, Cineworld Braintree
- Bridgend, Odeon Bridgend
- Brighton, Cineworld Brighton
- Brighton, Odeon Brighton
- Bristol, Cineworld Bristol
- Bristol, Showcase Bristol Avon Meads
- Bristol, Showcase Bristol Cinema De Lux
- Bristol, Vue Bristol Cribbs Causeway
- Bristol, Vue Bristol Longwell Green
- Builth Wells, Wyeside Arts Centre
- Camberley, Vue Camberley
- Cambridge, Arts Picturehouse
- Canterbury, Curzon Canterbury
- Cardiff, Chapter
- Cardiff, Cineworld Cardiff
- Cardiff, Odeon Cardiff
- Carlow, IMC Carlow
- Castleford, Cineworld Castleford
- Chatham, Odeon Chatham
- Chelmsford, Odeon Chelmsford
- Cheltenham, Cineworld Cheltenham
- Chesterfield, Cineworld Chesterfield
- Chichester, Cineworld Chichester
- Clydebank, Empire Clydebank
- Colchester, Odeon Colchester
- Crawley, Cineworld Crawley
- Cwmbran, Vue Cwmbran
- Derby, Derby QUAD
- Derby, Odeon Derby
- Dublin, Cineworld Dublin
- Dublin, IMC Santry
- Dublin, Vue Dublin
- Dudley, Odeon Dudley Merry Hill
- Dundee, Cineworld Dundee
- Dundee, DCA: Dundee Contemporary Arts
- Dun Laoghaire, IMC Dun Laoghaire
- East Didsbury, Cineworld Didsbury
- East Kilbride, Odeon East Kilbride
- Edinburgh, Cineworld Edinburgh
- Edinburgh, Vue Edinburgh Ocean Terminal
- Edinburgh, Vue Edinburgh Omni Centre
- Ellesmere Port, Vue Cheshire Oaks
- Ely, Cineworld Ely
- Epsom, Odeon Epsom
- Exeter, Odeon Exeter
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- Ipswich, Empire Ipswich
- Jersey, Cineworld Jersey
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- Leeds, Everyman Leeds
- Leeds, Vue Leeds Kirkstall Road
- Leeds, Vue Leeds The Light
- Leicester, Phoenix
- Lerwick, Mareel
- Limerick, Odeon Limerick
- Lincoln, Odeon Lincoln
- Liverpool, Odeon Liverpool ONE
- Llandudno, Cineworld Llandudno
- Loughborough, Cineworld Loughborough
- Luton, Cineworld Luton
- Lymington, The Lymington Centre
- Maidenhead, Odeon Maidenhead
- Malton, Ryedale Palace
- Malvern, Malvern Theatres
- Manchester, Odeon Manchester Great Northern
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- Manchester, Vue Manchester Printworks
- Middlesbrough, Cineworld Middlesbrough
- Milford Haven, Torch Theatre
- Milton Keynes, Cineworld Milton Keynes
- Milton Keynes, Odeon Milton Keynes Stadium
- Newcastle upon Tyne, Cineworld Newcastle Upon Tyne
- Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyneside Cinema
- Newport, Cineworld Isle Of Wight
- Newport, Cineworld Newport Friars Walk
- Newport, Cineworld Newport Spytty Road
- Northampton, Vue Northampton
- Norwich, Odeon Norwich
- Nottingham, Broadway Cinema
- Nottingham, Cineworld Nottingham
- Nuneaton, Odeon Nuneaton
- Oxford, Odeon Oxford George Street
- Oxford, Vue Oxford
- Plymouth, Vue Plymouth
- Poole, Cineworld Poole
- Portsmouth, Vue Portsmouth
- Preston, Odeon Preston
- Reading, Showcase Reading Cinema De Lux
- Reading, Vue Reading
- Renfrew, Odeon Braehead
- Rochester, Cineworld Rochester
- Rugby, Cineworld Rugby
- Ruislip, Cineworld South Ruislip
- Salford, Vue Manchester Lowry
- Sandwich, Empire Cinema
- Sheffield, Cineworld Sheffield
- Sheffield, Odeon Sheffield
- Sheffield, The Light Cinema, Sheffield
- Sheffield, Vue Sheffield
- Southampton, Odeon Southampton
- Southend-on-Sea, Odeon Southend
- Southport, Vue Southport
- Stevenage, Cineworld Stevenage
- Stillorgan, Odeon Stillorgan
- Stirling, MacRobert Arts Centre
- Stirling, Vue Stirling
- Stroud, Vue Stroud (Apollo)
- Sunderland, Empire Sunderland
- Swanage, Mowlem Theatre
- Swansea, Odeon Swansea
- Swansea, Vue Swansea
- Swindon, Empire Swindon Greenbridge
- Tamworth, Odeon Tamworth
- Telford, Odeon Telford
- Thanet, Vue Westwood Cross
- Thetford, The Light Cinema, Thetford
- Thornton-Cleveleys, Vue Cleveleys
- Totnes, Dartington Arts Centre
- Tullamore, IMC Tullamore
- Tunbridge Wells, Odeon Tunbridge Wells
- Walthamstow, Empire Walthamstow
- Warrington, Odeon Warrington
- Waterford, Odeon Waterford
- Watford, Vue Watford
- Weymouth, Cineworld Weymouth
- Wolverhampton, Light House
- Worcester, Vue Worcester
- Wrexham, Odeon Wrexham
- Yeovil, Cineworld Yeovil
- York, Vue York

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