King Richard - Review (London Film Festival 2021)
The Champion Raising Business. 4 / 5
Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green.
Richard Williams serves as a coach to his daughters Venus and Serena, who will soon become two of the most legendary tennis players in history.
Will Smith does all in his power to be in the race for Awards season as the authoritarian dad of Serena and Venus Williams in King Richard.
I'll be the first to admit that when done well, I'm a sucker for a sports hero's journey and this story of dedication and drive ticks all the emotional boxes with Smith leading a fantastic cast. Demi Singleton and Saniyya Sidney play the now world famous sisters and both go on different journeys on their rise to success with this film focusing more on Venus' lesser known story. This film even gets bonus points for being one of the rare films in recent years to give Jon Bernthal not only something to do but also more than five minutes of screen time.
It's easy to see Richard William's perseverance as either bold courage or delusional stubbornness but as we all know how the story ends, there's a bias to perceive him as the hero as this film obviously focuses on. Where his methods may be questionable, whether it be through sheer will or good luck - it makes for one hell of a story that I'm surprised Hollywood is only just getting around to.
Richard had a 78 page plan for greatness before his daughters were even born. The fearless spirit of this film is as inspiring as the Williams' story. If you can see past the award season bait, there is a really solid and uplifting film hidden amongst the monologues and single tears.