7.5/10 A well-paced, expertly acted film, “King Richard” has some problems with the script but ends up being an uplifting journey worth taking. As part of Warner Brothers release strategy for 2021 of dropping films in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously, “King Richard” has struggled at the box office, which is a shame since more people should check the film out. Will Smith delivers his best performance in years but since we already know he can act, the stand outs for me were the two actresses playing his daughters, Saniyya Sidney (Venus) and Demi Singleton (Serena). For both actresses being under the age of 16, they showed not only real acting talent but tremendous tennis skills as I’m sure they did countless hours of tennis training to prepare for these roles. The supporting cast of Aunjanue Ellis, Jon Bernthal and Tony Goldwyn do great work with the screen time they are given. Despite coming in at two and a half hours long, I never once found myself checking the time as the film moves at tennis match speeds and becomes deeper than your run of the mill, cliché sports drama. The cinematography was great and particularly captured the tennis scenes well. The score, while not very memorable, suited the film well and added to the emotional strengths the film had going for it. As for what didn’t work, there are issues with the script. While the script does have strengths such as dialogue and character development, it borders on hagiography in its worship of Richard Williams. While he surely accomplished a lot and deserves plaudits, something feels off about the story of two of the greatest female athletes of all time and making the film more about their father, so much so that you name the movie after him and anoint him a “King”. His character does some problematic things that paints him as a jerk in certain scenes, yet the film rewards him for it instead of scolding him. Instead of portraying him as a flawed but loving father, the film chooses to flat out worship him. Also, while race is a relevant issue in the film, the script leans way too heavily into it and handles it in a rather heavy handed way. Some information is given on screen at the end of the film and while this is a nitpick, it talks about how Venus and Serena are not only two of the greatest tennis stars of all time but athletes as well. Yet the word “female” should have been added to that last sentence because while they are two of the best female tennis players and athletes of all time, they wouldn’t even crack the top 100 best men’s tennis players, making it a little misleading to group them all together. Despite the flawed Richard being at the center of the film instead of his two talented daughters and the slight obsession with race, the film is full of winning performances, emotional triumphs, brilliant pacing and solid direction from Reinaldo Marcus Green. Even if tennis isn’t your sport of choice (it sure isn’t mine), there is something for everyone in “King Richard”.

#TennisToSociety / #VenusEnvy / #KingOfQueens / #ForRichardOrPoorer / #AllsFairInLoveAndWar / #CourtJesterRichard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s