Starring: Will Smith, Jon Bernthal, Demi Singleton, Saniyya Sidney and Aunjanue Ellis
Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Producer: Warner Bros
Release date: 19 November
Star Rating: 4/5
Armed with a clear vision and a 78-page plan, Richard Williams is determined to write his daughters, Venus and Serena, into history. Training on Compton, California’s neglected tennis courts rain or shine the girls are shaped by their father’s unyielding commitment and their mother’s balanced perspective and keen intuition, defying the seemingly insurmountable odds and prevailing expectations laid before them. Based on the true story that will inspire the world, “King Richard” follows the uplifting journey of a family whose unwavering resolve and unconditional belief ultimately delivers two of the world’s greatest sports legends.
A towering turn from Will Smith, his best since Aladdin and one of the year’s great screen performances, defines nearly every frame of this film. He is a genius and as always, the humour was weaved in and out of the film.
I was glued to my seat just hearing this, I knew this is going to be one powerful movie and throughout I was completely engaged. It was amazing, a real story highlighting something which is so important…diversity in sport. This really resonated with me as a young girl growing up and having a dream and having that vision and the drive and support from my parents was what made it so special.
The story is a truly heart-warming one of Richard Williams’ (played by Will Smith) whose journey unfolds as the determined father who wants to make his daughters fulfil their dream as tennis players. Credit to the writers and the performances of the cast who have you attached to every emotion. I particularly related to the stubborn father who wanted to do things his way without consulting his wife, or Venus, which was hard to watch at times as many of us coloured women have been in a similar situation, and we can understand the way fathers can dominate and take control of decisions. I really felt Venus’ pain when she really wanted to play the world’s best tennis player and felt she was ready, but her father didn’t feel she was and made that decision for her. The family set up having five daughters and the relationship between the sisters and parents was just wonderful.
To know that others didn’t believe in the dream that these girls could be champions in tennis, was just making me whisper to myself, keep going girls, you can do it. My emotions were deeply invested in the film from start to finish. All I could feel inside was this warm feeling in my gut, it was straight from the heart, it’s hugely touching, and it left me with tears of happiness in my eyes.
An entirely rousing crowd-pleaser that will leave you feeling so damn good, it may not be the most revolutionary of biopics, but it’s certainly one of the most enjoyable.
The one line that stuck with me is ‘be humble’ when Venus was getting a lot of attention and people noticed her talent, the bus journey on the way home, where Richard was telling his daughters to not boast that Venus has won the game, but instead to always remain humble was such a powerful point.
The whole film taught me something about myself, not to give up, as a woman of colour I visualise that dream and believe I can do it. That’s exactly what Venus did, her dream came true and her perseverance, and support from the family is what made it even more enjoyable to watch. I would watch this again, it’s such a feel-good film and so needed right now. A story that ticks all the boxes: diversity, unrepresented community and women’s voices being heard.
Bravo to the cast, they did a fantastic job and it made my birthday extra special because this film shows the way things should be, equality and diversity is so important.
A Warner Bros. Pictures Presentation, A Star Thrower Entertainment Production, A Westbrook Production, A Keepin’ It Reel Production, “King Richard” is slated for international theatrical release beginning 18 November 2021.