Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard tells the story of Richard Williams, the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams.
It’s no secret that the Williams sisters are the best in their sport, but what might surprise audiences is that Richard Williams planned it all. Along with his clear vision and laser-sharp focus, he kept a 78-page plan that detailed how they would train and the path they would take to change the world of tennis.
Will Smith plays Richard Williams and does an excellent job bringing the family patriarch to life. Equally confident as he is stubborn, Richard Williams navigated his family as best he could while living in Compton, CA. There have been loud, contrasting opinions about the children outside of his marriage and in the film, how the girls “appeared” to have little social life. To that I say, if you’ve never lived in Compton, as a family lead, while raising five daughters, and working a full-time job, you have no room to speak. The sisters had a tight-knit relationship which surely helped a great deal and having parents around oozing positive reinforcement (however awkward or straightforward it may have been) through it all was inspiring to watch.
The teamwork of Richard and Oracene (Aunjanue Ellis) Williams brought the Williams sisters to greatness. With both parents being former athletes, they knew just what they needed to do with Venus and Serena to get them to reach their peak. With the siblings winning a combined 30 Grand Slams (singles), it’s safe to say that ‘plan’ was executed to perfection.
In the film, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton were tasked with portraying Venus and Serena respectively and did an excellent job. Mikayla Lashae Bartholomew did a wonderful job portraying their older sibling Tunde as well.
King Richard gets a 9 out of 10. Don’t be surprised if you hear about the film during awards season, specifically for Will Smith, Saniyya Sidney, or Demi Singleton. The film is available now in theatres and HBO Max.