Steve Carell and Emma Stone go head to head in this film about conquering fears and pursuing obsessions. Both are praised for their wins, but both win at a cost.Stone plays Billie Jean King, pro tennis player who took on the known misogynist king of the courts Bobby Riggs, Carell.The centerpiece of this pastel tapestry of human experiences shows the dedication to a sport, body and soul. Then it outlines the match with glimpses at secret inner lives and choices that guide both down very different life paths.Billie Jean has an affair with her hairdresser and ends her marriage. Meanwhile, Bobby allows his gambling addiction to separate him from his wife and child – his sole place of refuge and sanity.Both players pursue what they admit to being temporary, unhealthy choices.Both, despite wins and losses, obsess and fight and decompress in ways they know they shouldn’t and find themselves wallowing in shame.Riggs’ loudmouth, public persona is nothing like his true man at home.
Fortunately for these characters, they are deeply loved by people who refuse to give up on them even when offered the loser’s role of 2nd place. This may be the truth of the film. It’s not about the win or a loss for feminism. It’s a sad two hour story, beautifully told, that offers hope for all even after bad choices, and redemption if unconditional love is accepted.