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KING RICHARD Engrossing and Inspiring

 

 

 

 

Review by John Delia

You really don’t have to know anything about tennis to enjoy one of the best films of 2021. Opening this weekend is the compelling story of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams and their domineering father Richard. Told from the perspective of the father played by Will Smith, the film takes you on their journey of fulfilling one’d dreams. King Richard is truly inspiring and transfixing. It’s so engrossing that it’ll feel like the fastest 2 hours you’ve spent at the cinema.

(L-r) JON BERNTHAL as as Rick Macci and WILL SMITH as Richard Williams in Warner Bros. Pictures’ inspiring drama “KING RICHARD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

The true story opens in Compton, California where we find Richard Williams (Will Smith) working with his two oldest children of 5 kids, Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton). Youngsters, the two girls dutifully obey their father who takes them to a public tennis court and slams balls back and forth until they are exhausted. It is challenging for the girls, but more so for Richard who has to avoid some of the local violent drug gang members just to get some time on the courts.

The film gets into the background of Williams family that are completely dedicated to their father’s belief that he will take Venus and Serena to being pro tennis stars. Their mother is on the same page, but her caution for her daughters is at a high level. When Venus gets noticed for a possible chance to be trained by American tennis coach Rick Macci (John Bernthal), who championed Jennifer Capriati and Maria Sharapova, Richard works his magic to get famous coach to take his two daughters into his camp.

(L-r) DEMI SINGLETON as Serena Williams and SANIYYA SIDNEY as Venus Williams in Warner Bros. Pictures’ inspiring drama “KING RICHARD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Director Reinaldo Marcus Green takes on the project and turns it into a masterpiece of the high energy. Not only for the sport that it depicts that takes immense training on the part of the actors, but to keep an audience’s attention so the storyline doesn’t get buried in a lot of the sport rather than the drama. Accomplishing the incredible production with just the right balance between heart and agony, the audience gets a lot more treat than treatment.

Making the film work are the actors, who give their best to make King Richard the best among the rest of the field of 2021. The cast accomplish it with performances that tip the scale for realism, gripping scenes, thrilling court action and inspiration.

SANIYYA SIDNEY as Venus Williams in Warner Bros. Pictures’ inspiring drama “KING RICHARD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

One of his best performances ever, Will Smith delivers a tough and determined Richard Williams who will stop at nothing to get his daughters to the top. Fighting to keep his family out of debt, those would distract Venous and Serena, and even local thugs, his Richard plows his way out of one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in California and he doesn’t look back. When the chips seem to be getting thin at the gambling table of life, he ups the ante by taking chances that could give him a win or lose all and with no middle ground. An amazing performance that had me wondering when the next shoe will drop in the Williams’s quest for fame.

Both the actors, Saniyya Sidney as Venus and Demi Singleton as Serena, are magnificent. Not only is their tennis prowess that shows strong on screen, but their dramatic acting that’s very favorable. Showing complete conviction that their dad is making the right choices by following his instructions and demands every step of the way, the two film stars make the King Richard work. Having seen the rise of the two awesome players to tennis fame on TV, it had me cheering like I did then.

(L-r) MARCELA ZACARIAS as Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and SANIYYA SIDNEY as Venus Williams in Warner Bros. Pictures’ inspiring drama “KING RICHARD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

King Richard has been rated PG-13 for some violence, strong language, a sexual reference and brief drug references. The film opens on Friday November 19th in theaters everywhere. A movie for all ages, I have reserved a spot in my ten for 2021. My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, John Beerthal,
Directed by: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence, strong language, a sexual reference and brief drug references
Running Time: 2 hrs. 18 min.
Opening Date: November 19, 2021
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Released in: Theaters

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