By Gabriela Gutierrez
Released last month on HBO and in theaters, “King Richard” follows the story of Venus and Serena
Williams’ father, Richard Wiliams. The film’s attempt to create a feel-good movie is not in vain.
The film revolves around the highs and lows Williams must go through as a father and focuses on his
determination to see Serena and Venus succeed. A tennis coach himself, he trains his daughters and
does everything in his power to pave the way for them to be the best tennis players they can be. The
film reveals that at times, Williams’ decisions are unconventional, but he claims to have a strict plan
because he believes in his daughters.
The purpose of the film is to share a story of struggle and success to inspire viewers to work hard for
their dreams. It is successful in its delivery through its casting, music scores and cinematography.
Will Smith’s role as Richard Williams is what might attract most viewers to this film, and rightfully so.
Smith breaks into character with determination and allows viewers to see Richard Williams as a human being and a man with a dream for something bigger than himself. Smith’s character is short-tempered at times, stubborn and gentle all at once. Smith breaks down the character of Williams and adds to his
complexity with just the right amount.
Smith does not take away from the roles of Venus, played by Saniyya Sidney, and Serena, played by Demi
Singleton. Their ability to play one another’s sister seems natural and they appear to have fun working
together. The connection they have with one another is stronger than even the one they have with
Smith. It is evident in the small but intimate moments they share on-screen.
Smith’s on-screen wife is also a noteworthy addition to the film. Oracene “Brandi” Price, played by
Aunjanue Ellis, is also a tennis coach and helps her daughters, specifically Venus Williams, practice the
sport. Throughout the film, her supporting role balances Smith’s, Sidney’s and Singleton’s roles by
playing mother and wife effortlessly.
The cherry on top for this film is John Bernthal’s role as Rick Macci, tennis coach and professional tennis
player who, in the film, appears to be considered part of the Williams family. He plays a key role in the
lives of the Williams sisters by further paving the way for them and their careers as tennis players. His character is patient, understanding and loyal with a sassy finish. Bernthal’s role as Macci brings a fresh
look at his acting skills, and he owns it all the way.
Director Reinaldo Marcus Green does a great job working with the different timelines throughout the
film. There is a camera switch at one point to enhance one of the tennis matches, and it is the perfect
decision to say the least.
The film is mostly credible, but Venus and Serena’s half-sister, Sabrina Williams, said that off-screen
Richard Williams is not the same man Smith portrays him to be on-screen. Williams said her father left
her when she was only eight years old and focused all his energy on helping her sisters succeed.
Her and her siblings lived in poverty without their father. She also said the film only tells half the story.
Not diving into Richard Williams’ past was a disservice to the film.
The film is still streaming in theaters and on HBO.