(Photo Credit: KING RICHARD, from left: Demi Singleton, as Serena Williams, Saniyya Sidney, as Venus Williams, Will Smith, as Richard Williams, 2021. ph: Chiabella James /© Warner Bros. /Courtesy Everett Collection)
Training in the streets of Compton with his 78 page plan, Will Smith plays the Williams twins’ father in “King Richard.”
Based in California, the movie goes into the hardships tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams faced in their journey to becoming two of the best female tennis players to ever play. As a family of seven, the sisters are limited in their ability to get proper training, however, their father seemed to have a plan.
Driven by a “do or die” mentality, Smith encapsulates a father that cares too much about their child’s sports activities. Whether it’s forcing the girls to practice in the rain or begging tennis clubs for spots, Smith shows what it takes to achieve a dream as highly regarded as the Williams sisters.
The movie shows how desperate the father became when clubs weren’t picking up his daughters. Tennis is not a cheap sport, professional lessons were hard to come by especially as a low-income black family in California. Richard’s plan was a 78-page book that was made to show how his daughters were walking investments.
Another topic that came into the movie was race. Based in 1994, the sisters weren’t treated with respect until they were seen playing in tournaments. Walking into tournaments, the family was often given mean looks from white families that were about to lose all their money from lessons. The surroundings the girls practiced in also came into play as gang activity was frequent in Compton.
Once the tennis stars finally get picked up by a club in California, the duality of King Richard begins to surface. As a father, Richard always wanted what was best for his kids, however, he would hold them back and pull them from tournaments often to avoid them getting burnt out. This angered not only his daughters but coaches who knew the two daughters were ready for the next level.
The confidence of an aspiring black man was the basis of the film. Smith did an amazing job of acting out King Richard’s confidence despite his situation. People weren’t a fan of Richard’s ways but in the end you can’t argue because his daughters went on to be champions.
The film did a great job of creating a story out of something that wouldn’t seem to have too much juice in the plot. The movie showed how much it really takes to achieve goals. Smith gave the feeling of the “American Dream,” just like he did in the “Pursuit of Happiness.”
Supporting actors in the film also made this movie what it was. Demi Singleton and Saniyya Sidney played the tennis sisters perfectly, giving off the attitude of always keeping hope and remaining loyal to their father. The mother of the twins, played by Aunjanue Ellis, kept the family tied down when it came to high conflict scenes.
Overall, “King Richard” was an amazing film for those who enjoy not only sporting triumphs but people in tough situations fighting for their dreams.