Title – King Richard (2021)
Director – Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men)
Cast – Will Smith, Jon Bernthal, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Aunjanue Ellis
Plot – The true story of the early lives of future tennis stars Venus (Sidney) and Serena Williams (Singleton) who under the plan of their father Richard (Smith) were set on a path to greatness that would lead them away from their lives in the tough streets of Compton.
“Unlike you, I don’t need the world to tell me I’m great”
Review by Eddie on 13/01/2022
The film itself may not be a revelatory grand slam but upcoming director Reinaldo Marcus Green’s true life tale of the start up years of future tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams under the planned guidance of their larger than life father Richard is the very definition of a feel good movie, that arguably holds its main star Will Smith’s best chances yet at securing that Oscar his been so desperately chasing since he donned the gloves of Muhammad Ali way back in 2001.
An intimate drama that is content in allowing its characters to remain the centre court focus, King Richard never goes for full Hollywood sweeping biopic as Green lets Smith chew scenery in bun hugging shorts, high socks and grey speckled beard as his Richard and young stars Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton get to shine in what is a star making turn for the young Sidney in a tale that is much more Venus-centric than Serena.
The chemistry between these two performers and the ever reliable Smith is the heart and soul of this almost unbelievable true story and Green gets maximum millage out of his lead trio, with the bonus of yet another scene stealing Jon Bernthal as the girls eventual tennis coach Rick Macci, as the talented actor continues to stake his claim as one of the most dependable actors operating at this present time, and it’s a joy to see Smith in such a winning mode once more after a few years of so-so outings and mismanaged performances.
Likely to go toe to toe with his turns in the Pursuit of Happyness and I am Legend in the battle of the public domain when it comes to favourite Will Smith movie performances, the talented actor looms large over the entire runtime of Green’s film and whether his getting roughed up by Compton hoodlums, having extremely awkward flatulent infused meetings with high rollers or nervously watching his girls on the court, Smith embodies Williams in a stunning way and his work here is undoubtedly an ace.
Finely scripted by writer Zach Baylin and colourfully shot by the always finely attuned eye of cinematographer Robert Elswit, King Richard is an all round quality production that lacks that magic or spark that would’ve made it a future classic of the biography genre but it’s a film that the whole family will enjoy and a worthy telling of an incredible story of two once in a lifetime athletes and their unique upbringing.
Final Say –
Lead by the best Will Smith performance in some time and featuring a star making turn from Saniyya Sidney, King Richard is a formulaic film of an anything but true story, making it a pleasant and well made Hollywood affair likely to become an all ages favourite in the year’s to come.
3 1/2 nosy neighbours out of 5