Venus and Serena Williams came from an unlikely background to dominate the world of tennis. Taking a look these tennis superstars and how they became who they are after the coaching from their father Richard Williams.
Upon announcement, I was not sold by Will Smith's casting. Nor was I enticed by the trailer itself.
Wholeheartedly, I was wrong. King Richard is a powerful film that is bold, wildly funny, and heartfelt. In the midst of blockbusters, this is the film I have been waiting for all year. The tone is like watching Hidden Figures all over again. It is hopeful, tense, emotional, and even full of action. Reinaldo Marcus Green (also director of Top Boy) has created a film that swims in the world of sports drama, while schooling us with biopic elements that we did not even know existed.
We all know Richard Williams was a tough father, however, this film explores the value of family and love more than anything. Their relationship is complex, yet familiar and I love that he was not portrayed as a villain, rather, a austere businessman who puts his family first. We see the culture of Compton in the early 90's, we experience the tennis industry at it's transformative stages, and we dive deep into the psychological horrors of young fame.
Will Smith is spectacular in this film. So good, that I can deem this as one of his best performances to date. He is a scene-stealer, but let's not forget about his cast mates. Demi Singleton as Serena and Saniyya Sidney as Venus are fantastic. With roles that require an extensive amount of athleticism and emotional range, they were delightful to watch. Aujuanue Ellis as their mother, Brandi Williams, truly ties this altogether. Many expected her to lash out, but instead, she took a subtle approach that conveyed the internal strength of a Black mother we rarely get to see onscreen. It is just so satisfying to see a strong Black family navigate their lives all for the benefit of family and community. As a reward, young Black girls are going to see this film and gain the courage to pursue their dreams.
King Richard is one of the most important films of the year. It is essential for everyone to watch and I would even begin to screen it in schools. Children and adults will learn from this picture and I hope that it receives all the praise it deserves.
Take your family to see this film or bundle up for movie night on HBO Max, and experience this rich piece of history.