Starring: Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney
Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Running Time: 138 mins
King Richard is an American film about the story of Richard Williams, and his role in raising two of the greatest tennis players to grace the court, Venus and Serena Williams.
I really enjoyed this movie. While it isn’t a groundbreaking biopic from a filmmaking perspective, King Richard tells a riveting story of triumph and determination, complete with a collection of soaring performances, and a real heart of gold.
There’s a lot to love about King Richard, but let’s start with the man at the centre of the story. Focusing on the determined father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams, the film strikes an impressive blend between a chronicle of the pair’s early years, and an intimate focus on the man who helped set them off on their legendary careers.
In that, King Richard is first and foremost a family movie, with a heart of gold throughout that allows you to really connect with all of its characters, and to sympathise with them as they encounter countless hurdles and dilemmas on the sisters’ road to greatness.
It would have been so easy for this film to be the Richard Williams show, or on the flipside, all about Venus and Serena. However, by bringing the overarching focus onto the Williams family, their humble roots and the collective drive from all seven in the house, King Richard is a film that tells its story from the warmest perspective possible.
It’s not an entirely easy ride, and the screenplay combines a praiseworthy account of Richard’s dedication to this daughters along with insightful and critical eyes on some of his more controversial decisions along the way. And with that nuance and honesty, the film more than earns the right to your heart from start to finish.
Despite the film’s title, Richard shares a major part of his screentime with Venus and Serena, with Demi Singleton (Serena) and Saniyya Sidney (Venus) in particular far from supporting players in Will Smith’s shadow.
With that said, Will Smith is absolutely brilliant in this movie from start to finish. Effortlessly charismatic as always, his performance is as fun as it is emotionally captivating, as he lives up to the screenplay’s heart of gold time and time again.
Coupled with some exciting moments of on-court action that are peppered nicely between the quiet, intimate family moments, King Richard is a film that can appeal to all audiences, from hardcore tennis fans to biopic lovers and more. It’s a riveting true story brought to life in wonderfully heartfelt fashion, and features a collection of excellent performances throughout. So, that’s why I’m giving King Richard a 7.6 overall.