‘King Richard‘ is a 2021 sports drama directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green and written by Zach Baylin. It was released theatrically by Warner Bros. and streamed on HBO Max.
Richard Williams (Will Smith) is raising his daughters Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton) to be tennis champions with his wife Oracene “Brandy” Price (Aunjanue Ellis). He is incredibly hard on them and constantly inserts himself into their training, frustrating their first coach Paul Cohen (Tony Goldwyn), especially after he pulls them out of juniors. As he exerts more control, his daughters get angry with him as does their new coach Rick Macci (Jon Bernthal). As the girls continue to increase their talent, Richard realizes he cannot protect them from everything and let them take risks as tennis players.
I will admit, I am not too familiar with the early life of Venus and Serena nor their relationship with their father. So I cannot give commentary on how accurate it is as a biographical film, but I will focus on it as a movie on its own. In that regard, it was a resounding success. I loved the movie and found it an enthralling plot.
Will Smith is fantastic. He definitely has a command of the performance and brings that subtle charisma to the role of Richard. I could not picture anyone else in the role as he brought every emotion, charm, and intensity to his character. While I am not prepared to say it is a new best, I am prepared to say that Smith was perfectly cast.
The rest of the cast does a good job. I thought that the actresses who played Venus and Serena were well-cast, doing excellent in their roles. Aunjanue Ellis was also a standout. She brought a lot of emotions and helped give balance out to Smith’s more charismatic role.
There was one issue I had with the film. Richard is obviously the titular character and the movie’s focus was on him. Makes sense, right? Except, you never really got a sense of what his relationship with Serena and Venus was. Sure, they talk around it, give surface-level displays, and he is confronted about it by their coaches. However, when he would come into conflict with the girls themselves, you never got a sense of what they were actually feeling unless it was at a convenient point in the plot. I think if they had highlighted the conflicts better through Serena and Venus, it would have been a much more visceral film.
Bottom line, King Richard is an excellent sports drama that has some great performances and a good story to tell about its subjects.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Violence, Foul language, Some intense moments
FAVORITE QUOTE: Unlike you, I don’t need the world to tell me I’m great.
Check out the trailer below:
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