From: Silver Screen

REVIEW: ‘King Richard’ inspires through Smith’s impactful performance

 REVIEW: ‘King Richard’ inspires through Smith’s impactful performance
(L to R) Demi Singleton as “Serena,” Will Smith as “Richard” and Saniyya Sidney as “Venus” in “King Richard.”

Anyone looking for a spark of true inspiration need look no further than “King Richard.” Director Reinaldo Marcus Green chronicles the development of tennis legends Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena Williams (Demi Singleton), and their father, Richard (Will Smith), who envisioned his daughters’ otherworldly success. The film provides the audience with a brilliant insight into what exactly drives and motivates a champion world-class athlete. 

Richard Williams is a father of five daughters in Compton, California. He wants his daughters to be well-rounded, safe and successful, which at times puts him at odds with people in his community. It seems as though everything is against him, including his own family, as he fights a never ending uphill battle against circumstance and adversity. Through the progression of the film, we come to love and admire Richard for his determination and care for his daughters, while also growing frustrated with his stubbornness.

The film first starts out in Compton, where you get an insight into some of the struggles that the Williams faced; ranging from gun wielding thugs to subpar sporting equipment, this family went through hardship. Various well shot montages of competition and training give a greater appreciation for tennis and accentuates the talent needed to play it well. Athletes like Venus and Serena make tennis look easy, but this film actively demonstrates that there is a deeper complexity to the physical and mental world of sport. 

The film is full of beautiful and immersive cinematography. Many shots insert the viewer in the midst of an epic training session or intense match. You get to know and love the complicated and controversial figure that is Richard Williams and feel for his family. You become invested in the characters and genuinely want to see them succeed. This film takes you on an awe-inspiring, emotional journey.

The characters were all cast well, and this is arguably a highlight in Smith’s career. Smith does an excellent job portraying a father who is desperate to see his daughters succeed while Sidney and Singleton do a great job acting as truly talented and hungry athletes.

While cynics and naysayers may argue that we already know how their stories end, “King Richard” explores what it took to reach such a level of greatness, and the sacrifices parents make for their children.

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“King Richard” was released in theaters and on HBO Max on Nov. 19. 

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