Two reviews for this week are small screen reviews (I didn’t make it out to the theatre).
First was on the plane I watched Battle of the Sexes, the TIFF film from a year ago starring Steve Carrell as self-proclaimed male chauvinist pig, and facially challenged Best Actor winner from a year ago Emma Stone. Interestingly I think as she is made up to look like a younger Billie Jean King, that her face isn’t so obviously a jumbled mess. I was very young when this whole Battle of the Sexes tennis battle took place (Sept 20 1973). I however knew nothing of the Riggs match with women’s Number 1 Margaret Court. She was beaten handily. In steps King. You would think that this is the focus of the movie. But it’s only scratching the surface, as the movie deals with Riggs and his motivations (gambling problem, and a desk job that cannot match the excitement of his previous spotlight life) and also the early days of King realizing despite being married that chicks are her thing. So the Battle of the Sexes can be about repressed leanings and having to show well for the public (who aren’t ready for what we take for granted each day in 2018). This isn’t a great film, but it highlights the issues well, and gives a sense of the 1970s. King’s then husband clearly shows that he knew what she was all about. He is likely more understanding than one could expect. Carrell to me is better than Stone, but then again I am not really a Stone fan as we all know. Worth checking out, and the price was right (zero) for me.
Next was Netflix had on Hanna, a 2011 film with Saoirse Ronan back in her teens and Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana. Bana had done Munich, Star Trek and Time Traveller’s Wife here, and Blanchett was a rising star. I like all the actors here, and notably the females. Ronan keeps getting better and better and I wanted to see an earlier work of hers. Here is a challenge and she embodies it very well. An isolated teen with her father in the woods, hunting and living off the land. She is multi-lingual and highly skilled in combat. We learn he was an agent of note, but now isolated with her. The plot unfolds and the girl learns about her isolation and her intense training. Father and daughter are split and are pursued. Tom Hollander is the real find here a the bad guy, and does his creepy best to add tension. I liked this film, and feel all made this a story good on a number of levels (thinking about family, and threats both perceived and real, and the ends justifying the means).