the fresh films reviews

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King Richard (2021)

Reinaldo Marcus Green


Biographical drama/Sports

King Richard

144 minutes

Tim White
Trevor White
Will Smith

Zach Baylin


Cast includes:

Richard Williams Will Smith
Oracene "Brandy" Price Aunjanue Ellis
Venus Williams Saniyya Sidney
Serena Williams Demi Singleton
Rick Macci Jon Bernthal
Paul Cohen Tony Goldwyn -
Tunde Price Mykayla LaShae Bartholomew -
Isha Price Danielle Lawson -
Lyndrea Price Layla Crawford -
George MacArthur Dylan McDermott -
Laird Stabler Andy Bean -
Vic Braden Kevin Dunn -



With a slight pose and quite a bit of panache, Will Smith plays Richard Williams, father of tennis greats Serena and Venus, in this biopic written by Zach Baylin and directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men, Joe Bell). The unlikely success story of how Williams coached his daughters with unorthodox methods before they turned pro and went on to win abundances of Grand Slams is a fascinating one, even if King Richard feels like it's overemphasising dad's achievements over the daughters'. This is about his struggles and his demons, which is fair enough considering the title and the angle, but it would have been interesting to peek more inside the heads of the girls to find out at which point and how they broke free and took control themselves. Because make no mistake about it: The sports geniuses here are Serena and Venus, not King Richard. And although we may be inclined to feel him when he's standing up to local gangs or the segregation policies of his youth, this somehow feel like a parenthesis to the success of the Williams sisters, despite Green's best efforts of making it resounding. There's little doubt that the film is out to do more than tell the story of the tennis sisters. It's also hell bent on speaking out against injustice and right some wrongs. Which, of course, is the same old story except that in this particular case, it ends up with the American Dream anyway. So you get the vapid aftertaste, which you perhaps wouldn't have gotten if the film had concentrated more on talent and sports than on retribution and ambition. Smith won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his effort, even if his work here is a couple of notches behind his best work, such as I Am Legend.

Copyright 14.5.2022 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang