King Richard is the heartwarming family sports drama everyone should see this holiday season. With an Oscar-worthy performance from its lead, King Richard delivers an important message about staying focused. This thrilling story about the life of Richard Williams, Venus and Serena Williams’ father, is a captivating experience from start to finish.
Venus and Serena Williams are recognized as two of the world’s best tennis players. It was only a matter of time before a film came along to dive into their upbringing. However, King Richard isn’t told through the lens of Venus or Serena. Richard Williams carries the weight of this crowd-pleasing affair to highlight his influence on his two daughters. The film follows Williams (Smith), a father determined to turn his two daughters into global icons.
Director Reinaldo Marcus Green helms this inspiring true story that should warm everyone’s heart. Smith is joined by Aunjanue Ellis, Jon Bernthal, Tony Goldwyn, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, and Kevin Dunn. A biopic about the childhood of Serena (Singleton) and Venus Williams (Sidney) told from the perspective of their father works overall, but another project centered on their adulthood should allow for more focus on the two stars. Zach Baylin’s script translates into this endearing film about a father who wants the best for his daughters, but if you came for Serena and Venus, they take a backseat.
Richard Williams is depicted as a man on a mission, he’s been through hardship, and intends to create a better future for his family. With an abusive and less fortunate upbringing, he refuses to let anything stop his two tennis stars from reaching the top. King Richard goes beyond tennis, the sport is an integral part of its story, but this film thrives more in its focus on a family overcoming their setbacks. No one is left behind in Richard’s vision, but his methods don’t always sit well with others. While his intentions are good, Richard can be a bit controlling and stubborn.
Green paces the film tremendously, which allows audiences to become attached to Richard, and there’s this feeling of intimacy in each scene. It assists in making his negative tendencies much more unnerving because you are rooting for this family to succeed. It’s a methodical transition from a supportive father to an overbearing father who only cares about himself. Smith delivers a powerful performance that should be recognized as one of his best. He captures the accent and personality of Richard Williams so well and carries the majority of this film with his commanding performance.
King Richard succeeds at keeping sports biopics fresh by switching up enough of the formula audiences might already be familiar with. Biopics have a habit of portraying the complicated side of success for the athletes or musicians they are centered on. Venus and Serena are children here, so Richard Williams takes on that complicated side, which involves fame and money. This allows the child stars to beautifully capture the innocence of Venus and Serena Williams. They are confident, but nervous about letting their family down, and Sidney and Singleton portray those emotions amazingly.
After building up a strong family dynamic, King Richard takes the emotions to the tennis courts. There are some hard-hitting tennis rounds featured throughout this film, the most important coming at the end. Green captures the tennis matches in a way that allows you to become immersed in the emotions felt by everyone in attendance. The tension is constant and these tennis rounds serve as a reinforcement for the strong family values Richard has instilled in the girls. By the end, being humble is what stands out the most for Venus and Serena Williams.
King Richard is a powerful sports drama that will inspire anyone who watches this holiday season. Smith’s performance is going to garner a lot of well-deserved attention. I’d consider this his best performance in many years, and having a story fitting for the talent he possesses makes his work here that much better. King Richard is a heartwarming film that teaches the importance of staying true to yourself and being focused.