By Ruth Chavez, Third Year, Film & Television
Serena and Venus Williams were destined for a biographical film following their universal success as sportswomen. Initially, the film’s title seemed questionable to me. Why on earth should a film about these two incredibly fascinating women find itself named after their father?
My impulsive thought was quickly shut down by the fact that this film, though it is focused on the earliest days of their careers with their father Richard Williams, begins with family and contains all the possibilities of a heartwarming drama with a balance in displaying the uplifting buzz of a sports film.
Will Smith steps into the role of the tennis champions’ father, Richard: a stubborn, charismatic and dedicated provider to his family, raising his girls within the streets of Compton, California and adamant that Venus and Serena will be written into history. Produced by the women themselves, they have had clear direction in the depiction of the loving yet unwavering drive of their father as they leave Compton and the family transition into prestigious training grounds, where they face racism and plenty of snobbery from highbrow professionals.
Smith’s character quite literally speaks the success of his girls into existence all whilst allowing them to be children, which most certainly ruffles some feathers with trainers such as Richard Macci (John Bernthal), who dons one of the strongest moustaches I have ever laid my eyes on.
The humbling sacrifices Williams makes for his family will undoubtedly leave you heartbroken - they most certainly left me in a puddle of tears for about 2 hours. Though Williams’ character is admirable in many ways, the film does not shy away from capturing the incredibly flawed and stubborn man that he is - and he is most definitely not a hero figure. Throughout the film he alternates between a loving father and a man whose relentless drive and regulations have a detrimental effect on those around him.
Smith’s expected acting style combined with his stellar performance allows us to find ourselves in an antagonising battle between agreement and resentment as he makes each decision for his young girls as young tennis players, all of which is supported by fantastic performances from Demi Singleton and Saniyya Sidney.
The heart of this film, as Dom Toretto would put it, is family, and I urge you to be inspired by this heartwarming portrayal of perseverance and belief in fighting against adversities. Topped off with a soul-enriching track from Queen Bey herself, which most certainly captures the sheer essence of this film, King Richard is not one to miss this awards season.
Featured Image: IMDB
Do you feel King Richard is a winner?