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King Richard (2021)

The story of how Richard Williams served as a coach to his daughters Venus and Serena, who will soon become two of the most legendary tennis players in history.
5.0 / 5
4.5 / 5

Incluvie Movie Reviews

November 20, 2021
5 / 5
4.5 / 5

'King Richard': A Portrait of a Black Father Seeking Respect

King Richard tells the story of Richard Williams as he coached his daughters Venus and Serena Williams to tennis stardom. The story is based on the real-life experiences of the Williams family's kids Serena and Venus.  King Richard paints a nuanced portrait of a Black father trying to ensure his daughters’ success in a white-dominated sport. This film is ultimately about a father who’s afraid—afraid his daughters won’t receive the respect they deserve and therefore he won’t receive the respect he deserves. Yet, Richard and his daughters overcome that fear and adversity to succeed and win the utmost respect. Serena and Venus are still overcoming adversity to this day, which is truly what makes King Richard's movie for kids such a powerful film.  Richard (Will Smith) is a complicated man. He does what he thinks is right to help his girls succeed. He pushes them harder than other parents might, yet always wants them to be kids. He has a wonderful relationship with his daughters, showcased in their funny, sweet conversations. From the moment his children are born, he sees a bright future for them and works to manifest that future. One of the best things he does is cultivate his daughters’ confidence. In America's patriarchal society founded on racist principles to keep white people in power and POC oppressed, Richard’s daughters are perhaps the most susceptible targets for oppression as young, darker-skinned Black girls. But Richard never lets them think lowly of themselves. He repeatedly assures them they can do anything, that one day they’ll live in mansions, be rich, etc. One of the most powerful things he says is this:  But Richard is by no means a perfect father. He does some questionable, downright awful things. The most obvious one is when he tries to leave his daughters at the store and forces them to walk home alone. His reasoning is he’s trying to teach them a lesson: stay humble. That’s a twisted way to go about it and seems hypocritical given this is the same man who put himself in harm’s way to protect his girls from gangs. He could’ve endangered their lives by leaving them there.  Richard is impulsive. He’s shown throughout the whole movie to be a planner—his mantra is “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”—but he also doesn’t think things through sometimes. He’s a contradictory character, which makes him real. Richard is layered, three-dimensional, and nuanced. He’s a father who walked out on previous families but devotes himself entirely to this one. He loves his daughters but also pressures them. A lot of Richard’s parenting can be explained by his identity as a Black man suffering from intergenerational trauma and struggling not to put that trauma onto his girls. He just wants respect.  Richard works hard to protect and uplift his daughters Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton). The young actresses who play the sisters are fantastic. Venus and Sidney are unabashedly confident. It’s not an act for the cameras or their father; they wholeheartedly believe in their talents. Yet, the girls never brag or slander other opponents because of the virtues instilled in them by their father. This beautiful combination of confidence and humbleness makes them particularly great characters and real-life role models for young Black girls and all female athletes. 
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Movie Information

The story of how Richard Williams served as a coach to his daughters Venus and Serena, who will soon become two of the most legendary tennis players in history.

Genre:Drama, History
Directed By:Reinaldo Marcus Green
Written By:Zach Baylin
In Theaters:11/19/2021
Box Office:$30,000,000
Runtime:145 minutes
Studio:Star Thrower Entertainment, Westbrook Studios, Warner Bros. Pictures, Overbrook Entertainment