REVIEW: King Richard – If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

King Richard does more than just show the back story of Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena Williams’ (Demi Singleton) success. It shows that one does not have to follow conventions to achieve. You just have to stick to a plan, or in Richard Williams’ case, an 85-page plan. 

King Richard is an inspirational biopic which conveys Richard Williams (Will Smith), the stubborn yet charismatic father of Venus and Serena Williams, striving to make sure his daughters become the best tennis players who ever lived, while reminding them to stay humble. 

On top of being a great sports story, this film successfully shows how the Williams sisters came to be. Director Reinaldo Marcus Green sets the scene of Compton, California in the 90s by showing small doses of racial disparities within sport, racial profiling, police brutality through the beating of Rodney King and gang violence.   

Right at the beginning of the film, Williams tries to find a tennis coach for his daughters, and we see early on two black girls trying to break into a majority-white sport. 

With Will Smith’s humour implanted in his role as Richard Williams, Green gives a comical element to a serious issue like race. In a scene with white tennis investors, Smith’s character makes a joke about how he is thankful that they removed their KKK hoods. 

At times, Williams stubborn approach to training his daughters is controversial, but we learn that it stems from his own childhood traumas. His experience with racism is the reason why he tries to protect his daughters and make them into role models for other black women. 

Gang violence is a major sub plot which sets the scene in the first part of the film. As well as racism, Green showcases how gang violence is something that characterises Compton.

When Williams’ daughters come with him to the tennis courts, a group of boys start harassing Tunde Price (Venus and Serena’s half sister). When trying to resolve the situation, Williams is beaten up.

Later that day, Williams plans to seek revenge but before he gets the chance, the gang member is killed by a drive-by shooter. There are many moments of suspense in the movie, and this is one of the scenes that shocks us most. 

Although Richard Williams is the main character, we should not forget Serena and Venus’s mother, Oracene Price. Played by Emmy-nominated actress Aunjanue Ellis, Price is a contributing factor to her daughters’ character building. She helps fix Serena’s serve because Richard messed it up, and does not expect any recognition for it. 

The film ends with real footage of Serena and Venus Williams which makes for a great ending. Really footage makes the film even more inspirational to the audience. 

Although we know the outcome of the girls’ training, this film keeps you engaged with every scene. 

Richard Williams made a lot of mistakes, but his love and faith in his girls is immense. His plan was unconventional, but it worked. 

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