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King Richard may just be the chance for Will Smith to claim the Oscar for Best Actor!

king richard movie review

Who is King Richard?

No, this is not the King Richard that William Shakespeare wrote about. This is in fact Richard Williams, the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams.

What is King Richard About?

Based on the true story that will inspire the world, King Richard follows the journey of Richard Williams (Will Smith), an undeterred father instrumental in raising two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time, who will end up changing the sport of tennis forever.

Driven by a clear vision of their future and using unconventional methods, Richard has a plan that will take Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena Williams (Demi Singleton) from the streets of Compton, California to the global stage as legendary icons.

King Richard Has Such an Amazing Cast

King Richard is a cinematic love letter.

The movie is a love letter to Black America, the sport of tennis, family, and the American dream.

Telling the true story of Serena and Venus Williams’ early years with their father, Richard Williams (Will Smith), and mother, Oracene Price (Aunjanue Ellis). In a true rags to riches story, the Williams family went from a two bedroom in Compton, California, to a beautiful palatial house in Florida where the girls were training with Rick Macci.

Working the girls hard, Richard might have pushed them to do their best, but even more so was adamant that the girls were not to be pushed too far and had fun. The press might have spoken poorly about Richard over the years causing him to pull away from the spotlight and the movie does not shy away from Richard’s weaknesses and limits that could be seen as flaws. At a screening at the Directors Guild of America, Will Smith said,

“Richard was a hard man to interact with. He lived flawed. He had really great qualities. Go to your Instagram. Serena posted an image of Richard with his granddaughter and he’s teaching her how to ride a bike and it says everything. You’ll know everything you need to know about the beauty of his heart… He is so engaged. That’s the part that is the beautiful part of Richard Williams. He has been so battered and brutalized by this world outside of his family. He is unwilling to let others in…This world has essentially lost Richard Williams in that way. It creates an interesting dichotomy that I hope I was able to portray on camera.”

While Richard Williams is never painted as a perfect man, he is definitely portrayed (through the lens of his daughters who serve as executive producers) as a father who will go to the ends of the earth for his daughters.

Aunjanue Ellis is also another strong talent in King Richard bringing her A game as the hard suffering and loving mother of Venus and Serena. While Richard has lucked out by getting Paul Cohen (Tony Goldwyn) to coach Venus, she is busy on the court in Compton training Serena and helping her excel so she could also compete in the juniors competitions. And halfway through the movie when the family has relocated to the sunshine state of Florida, Ellis gets her moment to truly shine in an Oscar worthy scene opposite Will Smith.

The movie’s cast is well rounded with great appearances by Tony Goldwyn and Jon Bernthal as the girls’ coaches and gorgeous performances by Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton as young Venus and Serena.

And guess what? Neither Saniyya nor Demi were tennis professionals before the filming of King Richard and Demi Singleton who is left handed had to learn how to play tennis with her right hand. You would have no idea by watching these young ladies on the courts in King Richard.

According to Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis, the camaraderie between the five young ladies who played their daughters was real and oftentimes the crew would film them without their knowledge to gain authentic footage that you can see in the movie today.

I see great things ahead for this amazing cast of performers and promise you that this is a must-see film that will make you laugh, have you blinking back tears, and cheering on the Williams family.


Cast of King Richard

Will Smith as Richard Williams
Aunjanue Ellis as Oracene “Brandy” Price
Saniyya Sidney as Venus Williams
Demi Singleton as Serena Williams
Tony Goldwyn as Paul Cohen
Jon Bernthal as Rick Macci
Dylan McDermott as Will Hodges
Mikayla LaShae Bartholomew as Tunde Price
Danielle Lawson as Isha Price
Layla Crawford as Lyndrea Price
Andy Bean as Laird Stabler
Kevin Dunn as Vic Braden
Craig Tate as Bells
Vaughn W. Hebron as Monsta

King Richard will be in theatres on November 19th and available for 31 days on HBO Max.

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