King Richard Film Review

'King Richard' 'King Richard'

Driven by a clear vision of their future and using unconventional methods, Richard Williams (Will Smith) has a plan that will take his daughters, Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena Williams (Demi Singleton) from the streets of Compton, California to the global stage as legendary icons.

This profoundly moving film shows the power of family, perseverance and unwavering belief as a means to achieve the impossible and impact the world.

Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, alongside executive producers, Venus and Serena Williams, 'King Richard' authentically depicts the blood, sweat and tears behind the ‘ghettorella’ story of the Williams’ sisters tennis career, giving insight into intimate moments between the family, ultimately highlighting Richard Williams’ tenacity and resilience as his ‘plan’ for his daughters slowly becomes a reality.

There is no surprise that the film has already scored six Critics Choice Awards nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Song. But the most deserving of the nominations are Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Young Actor/Actress. The casting for 'King Richard' was impeccable. Will Smith has a way of showing the wounded man under the bravado, making him the ideal person for the role of Richard Williams in what is being called a ‘career-defining’ role for Smith. His larger-than-life personality perfectly depicted Richard’s, and his dedication and passion for the role came across so clearly throughout the film.

However, his performance was rivalled by young actors Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton who did a superb job of portraying Venus and Serena through the complexities of rivalry, sisterhood and success. A thousand words were spoken through a swift look, a long hug, or a powerful hit of a ball, and we’re looking forward to seeing them both on the big screen again.

Of course, it was excellent to see Aunjanue Ellis on our screens again, playing the strong, encouraging and nurturing Oracene 'Brandy' Williams. We often see Ellis playing similar roles of wife and mother, however 'King Richard' allowed us to see a fierce and persuasive Ellis come through, which has made us love her even more.

Special mention to Jon Bernthal, who gave an excellent performance as the frustration-filled coach, Rick Macci. He stepped into the role as if he was born for it, embracing Macci’s quirks and eccentricities in a flawless execution of the girls’ first professional coach.

Behind the acting, we heard an influential score that not only shaped each scene, but guided the audience towards the emotions that both Richard and the Williams’ sisters felt as their ‘plan’ unfolded. From the strong, built-up instrumentals that made us feel like Venus and Serena were unstoppable as they practised in their run-down courts in Compton, to the minor keys that played through the background as Richard was knocked back and knocked down again and again. The score was a subtle, yet hugely influential part of the film that producers, Tim White, Trevor White, and Will Smith, got very, very right.

However, unfortunately there were some cracks in the storyline itself, that made this reviewer leave the cinema feeling like there were some loose ends that needed to be addressed. Aside from some distracting edits and cuts between scenes, there were also a couple of gaps that had me Googling the Williams' to fill in the blanks that were missed. Some scenes in the movie felt unnecessary, as they either didn’t make sense or add to the rest of the film. Being an extraordinary 145 minutes long, there were definitely scenes that could have been omitted, as it felt like it took a while to get to the point in some parts.

What they did do exceptionally well was ensure the involvement of the Williams. With Venus and Serena, and their sister Isha Price, as executive producers, 'King Richard' was an authentic representation of the family, which came across really clearly throughout the film. With the incorporation of family videos toward the end, as well as quirks and mannerisms that were evidently specific to the Richard and the Williams family, watching 'King Richard' felt like watching a really well put together home movie.

Authentic, heartwarming, and inspiring, 'King Richard' is the movie to watch in 2022, and will inspire you to dream, plan, and achieve.


‘King Richard’ is in cinemas 13 January.



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