"King Richard" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
Almost everyone in the world has heard of Venus and Serena Williams. Not only are they the best female African American tennis players, but they're some of the best tennis players in the history of the sport. They have definitely made their mark on the world in many different ways, both inside and outside of tennis, but how many people know about the man who made that all possible? Richard Williams, who is played magnificently by Will Smith, is the main focus of the wonderful "King Richard", the biopic that shows the rise of these two young tennis stars, as well as Richard's desire and non-stop motivation to make his daughters as successful as possible.
The movie, as a whole, is half sports film and half biopic, and the filmmakers are able to excel at both aspects. For the sports lover, this film gives a gracious amount of sports footage to those fans, showing the rise of the girls as they keep progressing through the ranks of the tennis world. At the same time, they would also never feel bored or tired of learning about their personal lives and the hardships that they overcome. The movie beautifully showcases the Williams family, and shows their lives throughout the years that the movie takes place in. The film makes you feel like you have known the Williams family personally from the raw and real way they portray each character.
With the Williams sisters being executive producers on this film, it was interesting to see how skewed the film would be. Throughout film history, only those like Bob Fosse would give an accurate representation of his life, showing things he did or said that would make him seem irredeemable to the viewer. Would they portray themselves in a light that made them look like God to the viewers, or would they give an accurate representation of their lives growing up? Thankfully, the sisters greenlit the film to show their best moments, as well as their worst moments. Richard does some horrible things to those around him, and it is hard to forgive him for these things he had done, but you can tell that he had the girl's best intentions at heart, even if he does it in the wrong way sometimes.
At the heart of this film is Smith's amazing performance. He is lovable throughout a lot of the film, yet infuriating at times. However, even though some of his actions may seem cruel to the girls, it's hard to hate his character as he just wants his daughters to succeed and reach their full potential. He is amazing in scenes with Venus and Serena, who are played by Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton respectively. Smith perhaps gives one of the best performances of his career, and definitely worth the Oscar he was nominated for, in my opinion.
We can't look past the other stellar performances in this film as well. Sidney and Singleton do a fabulous job of portraying the tennis legends, and Aunjanue Ellis does a great job of playing their mother and Richard's wife, Brandi. She is able to stand toe-to-toe with Smith in some scenes. Consider the spectacular scene in the kitchen, where Brandi confronts Richard about being selfish after they have been taking advantage of coach Rick Macci's generosity and hospitality. The monologue she gives in the kitchen, while cooking, is excellent and shows how powerful women are in the world.
Overall, I think this is a fantastic biopic that perfectly showcases the rise of two of the most popular tennis players in the world. They give a nice tribute to Richard in the end credits, who is still alive to see how successful his daughters are in the world today. Since the birth of his daughters, he had drafted out a carefully laid out plan on how they will succeed in their lives, and he made sure to follow that plan throughout their whole lives. Therefore, it makes the viewer feel overjoyed over the fact that he has been able to see the success from all work he has put in over the years, knowing his daughters achieved the things that Richard wanted most for them.