We give Will Smith (King Richard) credit for Bad Boys and Hitch type of movies, but he doesn’t get the full accolades he deserves for movies like Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness. I think that will change with this King Richard Movie.
King Richard is more than just the story of the Williams sisters and their motivational dad. Richard not only broke all the rules to get his daughters to the highest stage of tennis, but he also rewrote them. Meaning there was no example to draw from.
Sports biopics that promise that inspirational thunderbolt promise to deliver all the goods. But oftentimes coming up short. King Richard is not one of those movies. Richard Williams has seen the future, and it includes not one, but two female champion tennis stars.
He believes hard work and a solid plan, will deliver to the world his dream: Two African American tennis champions. They just need to get past the everyday violence of one of the toughest neighborhoods in America and limited resources.
Much of the film’s credit can be given to Will Smith and the two actresses that play Venus and Serena. Saniyya Sidney (Venus Williams) and Demi Singleton (Serena Williams) respectively. But we cannot forget Aunjanue Ellis (Oracene ‘Brandy’ Williams). Although her character is not fleshed out much, her impact is not less important. Her performances, despite being brief, help to carry the movie along.
Jon Bernthal (The Wolf of Wall Street and The Accountant) gives a solid performance as business owner/tennis coach Rick Macci. The coach believes in the two girls and in Richard to a lesser degree. But wants to take shortcuts that Mr. Williams does not consider.
Director Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men) captures the never-failing spirit of Richard Williams despite his dead-end job and the regular beatings from neighborhood thugs. We see clearly through Green’s lens.
In summary, this is not a Venus and Serena movie or even just a Will Smith tennis movie, I believe it has achieved much more. King Richard is an inspirational experience about a dad, a mom, and four loving daughters that defy the odds.
Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Cast: Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Jon Bernthal, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton
Release date: November 19, 2021
Runtime: 130 minutes