Will Smith Stars in New Film, ‘King Richard’

Released on November 19, 2021.

Published via fair use.

Released on November 19, 2021.

Sam Becker, Staff Writer

Originally known as a (fresh) prince, Will Smith becomes the king in Warner Brothers’ King Richard. Smith stars as Richard Williams, the father of future tennis legends Serena and Venus. The movie develops Williams’ two foremost struggles, mentoring his daughters in almost all white tennis world, while also trying to manage the challenges that accompany raising children in Compton, California.

While both Serena and Venus Williams served as executive producers on the film, they certainly did not hold back in regards to the unorthodox and often overbearing personality that Williams became known for. In fact, Will Smith delivers such an accurate portrayal of Williams’ eccentricities that it often leads to extremely cringeworthy moments. Nevertheless, the film delivers countless moments of inspiration, as we primarily follow the journey of Venus Willliams. Venus goes from a player who is nervous about playing in a local match to one who is competing point for point with the number one women’s tennis player in the world. It is a film full of moments where the viewer finds themselves cheering for a character as if watching a real sporting event, as it moves at a fast, back and forth tempo, almost as if it were a tennis match itself.

Naturally, King Richard is by no means exempt from flaws. There are numerous occasions where the story feels much too convenient. It seemingly presents Richard Williams as some omniscient presence, recklessly betting the careers of his daughters on numerous occasions without failure. It is almost laughable when he turns to his daughter, Serena, and essentially tells her that he knows that she is not only better than Venus, but will be the greatest tennis player of all time, which is arguably the case. Clearly, the message was that Richard, however misguided in his way of operating, somehow had an inherent sense of what was best for his daughters. The real lesson of King Richard is that the prodigious talent of the Williams family is one of a kind, somehow produced twice. Moreover, such talent is proven to be enough to overcome the most adverse conditions: both the overbearing father that Smith depicts and the rough upbringing the future stars faced in Compton.