King Richard review by Bobby Blakey
There is no denying that Venus and Serena Williams are two of the greatest tennis stars of all time. When thinking a film about them I would have never thought that the story would be focused more on their father, but that is exactly the case with the new film King Richard. The film stars Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Tony Goldwyn, and Jon Bernthal with Joe Bell director Reinaldo Marcus Green. Could this direction in their iconic story score or will it fail to make it over the net?
King Richard follows the journey of Richard Williams, an undeterred father instrumental in raising two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time, who will end up changing the sport of tennis forever. Driven by a clear vision of their future and using unconventional methods, Richard has a plan that will take Venus and Serena Williams from the streets of Compton, California to the global stage as legendary icons. The profoundly moving film shows the power of family, perseverance and unwavering belief as a means to achieve the impossible and impact the world.
This is an interesting direction for their story and while it may seem that this is all about Richard it is well balanced in the journey of the Williams sisters with the majority of the focus on the rise of Venus. Through it all the hard pushing, but loving Richard is right there making frustrating decisions that seem horrible, but clearly were the rights ones with how it all played out. I didn’t know their full stories so kept waiting for some tragic issue with their father or fight, but instead as it progresses you see the true passion, love and hope he had for them and not just greed or false hope it might seem.
Smith is really good here giving one of his best performances in a long time. It reminded me very much of his role in The Pursuit of Happiness with the emotions, depth and determination to do more. He is just so good with not only the dialogue, but his physicality to fully immerse himself in
the role. There is so much to his performance that is said at times without a word, but many powerful words as well. It is made all the better by showcasing his flaws as well to showcase what the rest of us are thinking at times.
The young cast are good as well with Saniyya Sidney taking to the court like a champ. She brings her own depth and power to a bigger than life superstar. Her innocence shines through the hard champion exterior to really make you root for her despite already knowing where it is headed. The tennis sequences both training and games are well shot and exciting to watch further adding to the films’ success.
I was surprised how much I really enjoyed this film. Smith is already getting award recognition for this role and deserves it. He clearly poured his heart into this one and it delivers.
In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including deleted scenes and featurettes taking you behind bringing this inspiring true story to life. Grab your racket and step onto the court to grab your copy of King Richard available now on digital, 4K, Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Bros.