King Richard: Half Sports Movie, Half Biography.


King Richard (WIll Smith) watches his daughters Serena and Venus practice.

Mason Faulkner, Staff Writer

Starring Will Smith in the title role, King Richard is a biographical sports drama film directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green and written by Zach Baylin that opened in theaters and started streaming on HBO Max on November 19. King Richard gives a detailed, and true story of Richard Williams, the father of world-renowned tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, who served as executive producers of the film. I felt that this movie was a little too long, but I would recommend this movie to people to like sport films, with some truth and story behind them. Is is very entertaining, and gives youa true story into two of the best athletes of all time.

Richard Williams is raising his two daughters, Serena and Venus, while raising his three step daughters at the same time. They live in Compton, California, in a low-income neighborhood which makes it difficult to find exposure in the tennis world. Still, Richard created a plan for his daughters when they were born and is determined to see it through. Venus eventually starts playing juniors at the age of 13 and starts to win a lot. Richard has hesitations about her going pro, at the distress of her mother. He finally gives in, and finds a coach named Rick Macci. The family moved to Florida where the two daughters became pro. 9 months later, Venus signed a deal with Reebok.

One main reminder that this movie gives us is that the Williams sisters had a mother, Brandy. She has this supportive spouse that trusts her husband with everything in the relationship, but she has her own goals and dreams. One of her best scenes happened when she finally had enough of Richard’s self-victimization. The scene is powerful and electrifying because Richard knows he is in the wrong, but yet still is prideful in himself, his daughters, and his plan. 

One thing that I noticed was that the actual sporting scenes weren’t all that exciting and thrilling compared to what they would’ve been like in real life. They were slow and repetitive and did not capture how exciting they should have been if you were actually there watching the match. But, the film cuts in between the athletic bits to Richards and Brady’s reactions and dialogue. One plus side to the film was how Green conveyed the intensity of the scenes in Compton, and the violence and threats Richard and the family face throughout the film. Most of these scenes were directed by Will himself.

Overall, the acting is what ultimately made this movie enjoyable to watch. Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton should be commended for their performances as Serena and Venus. Both had difficult roles to play as they had to mimic two of the greatest athletes to ever play in any sport. The movie was a little stretched out and long, but the on-screen performance of the cast is what led to the movie being fun to watch and educational to the life of King Richard himself.