Film Review: King Richard

I watched the Will Smith film “King Richard” over the weekend. The film is the autobiography of Richard Williams, father or tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. The movie depicts the Williams family origins in South Central LA and builds to Venus Williams’ first professional match at fourteen years old. “King Richard” is an inspirational American dream story. I would recommend “King Richard” to anyone. It’s a wholesome and the entire family can enjoy it together.

Will Smith is going to be a (I am) legend before it’s all over. He is working towards being Denzel level and I think Will Smith isn’t really getting the credit he deserves. Will Smith has starred in some great movies. “The Pursuit of Happyness” is one of my favorite films. Smith was great in “Ali”. “Independence Day” was a sensation when it debuted in theaters. He has had box office success with “Bad Boys” and “MIB”. Will is fifty three years old. He hasn’t come near his Morgan Freeman years yet. In time he’ll be one of the greats.

“King Richard” isn’t my favorite Will Smith performance but he did a good job. Richard Williams is from Shreveport, LA and speaks with a southern drawl. Hollywood never does a good job with southern accents and this film was no exception. At times it felt like Smith was depicting Richard as a person with intellectual and physical disabilities. However, that’s not the case because Richard Williams is a sharp business man. His business sense was depicted in the film. Smith’s accent and gestures just weren’t very convincing.

Smith’s depiction of Richard was that of a nice, kind and doting dad. I’m sure that’s the case but he had to have been a stage dad. I’m not sure his daughters would have had their success without it. I think the film wanted to make Richard likeable so he was portrayed as strict and driven but never harsh or overbearing. I’m a person that think stage parents get a bad rap. They’re effective. The Jacksons, Mozart and numerous child stars and pro athletes are the result of stage parenting. I doubt that Richard Williams is as laid back as he was portrayed in this film.

Mrs. Williams was played by Aunjanue Ellis. She was great and I think she deserves an Oscar. Aunjanue Ellis can best be described as an actor you recognize but you don’t know their name. Throughout the film I was trying to figure out where I’ve seen her. It could be anywhere. She has a long career and many credits behind her. Here is her IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0254712/. The character of Mrs. Williams gave Richard Williams more depth. She helped the film delve into the family dynamics of the Williams family and Richard’s short comings.

John McEnroe was briefly depicted in the film. The actor who played him nailed it. He was instantly recognizable as the tennis pro.

I recommend “King Richard”. It’s an inspirational family and exciting sports movie. It was a clean film and anyone can watch it without offense. You don’t need to be a tennis fan to appreciate this movie. The performances were solid especially from Aunjanue Ellis. I think you’ll enjoy “King Richard” if you are looking for a current release to watch.