Slightly before the movie’s halfway point, Richard Williams – the King of his household – has his family of five daughters watch Cinderella in order to learn a lesson in humility; the girls instead focus on the happiest of endings. Director Reinaldo Marcus Green, meanwhile, is not too subtly informing the audience that his movie will also conclude with dreams coming true. For both Richard Williams and two of his daughters, Venus and Serena, it is a finale that most of the free world already celebrates.
King Richard is a crowd-pleaser of a movie that is sure to inspire children of all ages positing that no matter race, color, or creed, the future can be theirs for the taking. Parents of all ages can take delight in a family-worthy movie that rises above a forgettable Disney matinee.
Title: King Richard (2021) Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green Writer: Zach Baylin Studio: Warner Bros. IMDb Plot: A look at how tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams became who they are after the coaching from their father Richard Williams. Joe Says: King Richard is a crowd-pleaser of a movie that is sure to inspire children of all ages positing that the future can be theirs for the taking. Parents of all ages can take delight in a family-worthy movie.
Like that yellow Wilson-etched ball, King Richard bounces back-and-forth between biopic and sports drama. While each half gets court time the resulting deuce prevents either side from winning the set. The movie completely succeeds in portraying the rise of Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and her younger sibling Serena (Demi Singleton). Both young actresses are beaming rays of sunshine that will hopefully light up cinemas for years to come. Yet veteran superstar Will Smith does not present the same gravitas nor does the story get deep into Richard’s Louisiana upbringing other than through tales meant to inspire his offspring. Smith’s portrayal is more imitative than immersive, unlike Jon Bernthal’s Rick Macci, whose uber-patience and mustachioed-joy could give Ted Lasso a good run around the court.
Williams pushes his daughters but does so out of love and the desire to see them win on their terms, instead of a misguided attempt of righting his own failures. Even though the outcome is not unexpected, the journey is refreshing. King Richard, although not completely unique, is a triumph. Expect this one to go deep into the awards season.
A version of this review appears on Cinefied