King Richard is a biopic of Venus and Serena Williams by focusing on their father, Richard Williams. That is a strange fact, but absolutely true. This movie tells the story of two of the greatest tennis players in history, but does it through the eyes of Richard.
Richard Williams is played by Will Smith and he does a tremendous job. There are times in the film where you are trying to understand why Richard is doing what he is doing and times when you wish he would get his own comeuppance because of things that he does, but, in the end, the character shows what he had been planning the entire time.
The film looks mainly at Venus Williams (Saniyya Sidney) because she started in training and her career before her sister Serena (Demi Singleton) did. Richard had his plan, and it was shaking up the tennis world, which, at times, did not know what to make of Richard Williams.
Tony Goldwyn (President Fitzgerald Grant from Scandal) played tennis coach Paul Cohen, who had some ideas that were different from Richard. Then, Jon Bernthal joined the movie as Rick Macci, who brought the family to Florida and elevated Venus’s training even further.
Aunjanue Ellis played Venus and Serena’s mother Brandy, who had several strong scenes with Will Smith. She brought some power to the role and was anything but a bystander in her daughters’ lives. There was a scene where Brandy confronted a neighbor and it showed the fire in her.
The film does run almost 2 and a half hours, but I never felt the length. The movie flowed extremely well and transitioned impeccably from each scene. Director Reinaldo Marcus Green does a great job with the shots of the film, especially the tennis action scenes which bring a tension to the film.
While Serena does not get the same attention as her sister, the movie does not allow her to fall into the background. Her own story of becoming one of the best players of all time is planted here and showed her dedication and passion. Both young actors who played the Williams sisters do a wonderful job with their performances and have bright futures in acting ahead of them.
King Richard could have been just another inspirational sports stories on the Hallmark Channel, but Will Smith and the rest of the cast, as well as Reinaldo Marcus Green, would not accept that level. The film tackles some major issues such as racism and overbearing parents without making anything judgy and providing an entertaining biopic. Excellent work all around.