Smart Movie Review: ‘King Richard’ showcases the man behind tennis legends

Published 4:00 am Sunday, December 5, 2021

Now playing at the B&B Theater at the Vicksburg Mall and on HBOMax, “King Richard” showcases how Richard Williams’s dogged determination helped Venus and Serena Williams become tennis legends.

Reinaldo Marcus Green crafts a riveting film about a legendary sports family, propped up by an amazing performance from the legendary Will Smith as Richard Williams. This biopic about Richard Williams evolves into a sophisticated drama about a Black child prodigy succeeding in a mostly white sport. The film never becomes overbearing about this; choosing only to focus on Richard, his wife Brandy (played amazingly by Aunjanue Ellis), the young actors who play their daughters (the best of them being Saniyya Sidney as Venus and Demi Singleton as Serena) and a hilarious Jon Bernthal playing against type.

They are paired with beautiful cinematography and a script that presents the beats of history with the right amount of weight and believability. Green also manages to turn this biopic into an edge-of-your-seat sports movie where the drama of each tennis match matters as much as communicating the love this family has for one another. The world of this movie feels lived in, while never sacrificing the humor and camaraderie. You relate to this family; their issues, their joys, their triumphs. Highlighting what it takes for a black family to be successful and making that family feel as real as your own is the most extraordinary quality of the movie. King Richard is wonderful, and you should all see it in a theater.

Ian Omar Smart is a graduate of Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University with a degree in architecture. When he’s not drawing buildings, he’s probably at the movies. Smart can be contacted at isiansmart@gmail.com.