“I think you just might have the next Michael Jordan.
No, brother, I got the next two Michael Jordan’s…,”
KING RICHARD – Rated PG-13 – 2 hours 18 minutes
DIRECTOR: Reinaldo Marcus Green
WRITER: Zach Baylin
STARRING: Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Jon Bernthal, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton and Tony Goldwyn
Do you love true stories? Are you a sports parent, or do you know one that seems to push, and push and push, to assist their children in achieving their goals and dreams? Well, if you do, welcome to the premise of Will Smith’s latest jaunt onto the big screen, King Richard.
King Richard takes us into the formable years in the life of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams, and the instruction and dedication that their father Richard, pumped into their daily lives. Luckily for the girls in real-life, and in this biographical feature too, their mother Brandy (played by Aunjanue Ellis) was there to wipe their tears, and to give them a different perspective to life, than what their father was determined they would each achieve.
Will Smith was wonderful as always, bringing a likeable edge to his role playing a man that I have a feeling in real-life, may have been a lot more headstrong and force full of his girls, than what was portrayed on screen. Not to be critical of course of Richard Williams, as he did manage to produce two incredible powerhouse tennis players, but this film just gives me the feeling that we might have sugar-coated some of the elements of this real-life tale, along the way.
But, with that said, I also felt throughout that there was a strong family unit portrayed, in which the parents fought to be as cohesive as possible, in providing and assisting all their girls throughout their lives. I also enjoyed the two young actresses that they chose to portray Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton), as they were both very good in providing us with a glimpse into the lives of these tennis champions, long before fame and fortune came their way.
I also enjoyed the way this screenplay, by newcomer Zach Braylin played out, as he shared enough in each of the girls lives, and in Richard’s too, for us to understand the depth of the courage, strength, and determination that Richard had for Venus and Serena, and how the girls too, were always determined not to let Dad down.
But, even with as enjoyable and entertaining as King Richard was at times, I think that it really drug out in a lot of places too, and I feel the only thing that ended up keeping my attention through these lulls, was the fact that I love to see Will Smith, doing his thing, even if the film itself doesn’t lend to providing him with an avenue to channel an award-winning performance.
All-in-all, if you love tennis and Will Smith, you may want to head out to a theater near you this weekend to catch KING RICHARD. But if you are not enamored by biographies, tennis or finding out more about the young lives of Venus and Serena Williams, then you might be better off catching this one at home on HBO Max, also starting today 🙂