King Richard Review: Will Smith Makes A STRONG Case For Award Talk

Based on the true story that will inspire the world, Warner Bros. Pictures’ “King Richard follows the journey of Richard Williams, 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. Two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith (“Ali,” “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Bad Boys for Life”) stars as Richard, under the direction of Reinaldo Marcus Green (“Monsters and Men”).

Driven by a clear vision of their future and using unconventional methods, Richard has a plan that will take Venus and Serena Williams from the streets of Compton, California to the global stage as legendary icons. The profoundly moving film shows the power of family, perseverance and unwavering belief as a means to achieve the impossible and impact the world.

KING RICHARD Trailer:

The Good:

King Richard stands primarily on the shoulders of Will Smith’s exceptional acting performance. He completely immersed himself into the person of Richard Williams and at no time does he ever slip out of character. From the speech patterns to body language, Will Smith clearly understood the assignment. It was really impressive to see how much Smith was able to emulate the character, especially when you compare him to the real Richard Williams. Of course, Will Smith wasn’t the only stand out performance in King Richard.

Aunjanue Ellis was outstanding as Mrs Williams. She had some great moments in the film that were built up and perfectly timed when she was ready to deliver. Next to her, Saniyya Sidney (Venus Williams) and Demi Singleton (Serena Williams) rocked out as the famous tennis stars. The entire cast exhibited solid chemistry together and made you really believe in their family dynamic.

I think one of the strong suits that work so well for King Richard are the powerful themes presented. There’s a theme of protection illustration by Will Smith’s character as almost any parent can find easily relatable. On top of that, I appreciated how King Richard highlighted the specific issue of being a Black parent. The story of the Williams story could be similar other child athletes, but this film made sure to give viewers a unique perspective some may not have considered.

Going into King Richard, I had no idea how much this film would be more than just a typical sports drama. I thought director Zach Baylin blended a nice amount of humor into the film bring the right amount of levity. The pacing, tone, and cinematography all came together to give King Richard a balanced feel. One moment you may find yourself literally laughing out loud, while in the next moment you’re looking for some tissue.

I couldn’t believe how many times this film had the entire audience sniffling and tearing up. (Me included) Much of that was due to some unforgettable scenes in the movie such as the “meeting at the net” or that “kitchen scene”.  This just speaks to the fantastic writing that made the dialogue in these scenes so powerful. If the drama wasn’t enough, then the epic tennis match at the end added a nice touch of suspense. For anyone who was unfamiliar with the tennis match, the way that scene was shot will have you fully invested in the game as if you were sitting courtside.

The Bad:

If there was a minor issue some could point to in this film, it may be in the shift of focus with the characters. Obviously, this film is called “King Richard” which gives the impression that it will be primarily from the vantage point of Richard Williams. There are moments in the film that pay attention to one of the Williams sisters, and push Richard more into a background role. While this didn’t necessarily bother me, I could understand how it may feel a bit misleading for viewers who were sold on seeing a movie all about Richard Williams.

The Verdict:

King Richard is the feel good movie of the year. Will Smith deserves not only a nomination, but the Academy might as well give him the Best Actor award as well for this performance. (He’s past due from The Pursuit of Happyness anyway.) This film has everything a movie goer can ask for ranging from a great cast, good story, and emotionally moving moments. It’s a legit tear-jerker full of inspiration and joy that needs to be seen. Whether it be theaters or a viewing at home, go watch King Richard as soon as possible.

Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Writers: Zach Baylin
Stars: Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, with Tony Goldwyn and Jon Bernthal
King Richard will be in theaters November 19, 2021. Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more movie news and reviews!

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About Emmanuel "E-Man" Noisette

Emmanuel is a Chicago film critic who founded Eman's Movie Reviews. He freelances as a writer and video content creator for sites such as MovieTickets.com. Be sure to join the other 33K+ fans on his Facebook Fan Page for even more movie opinions and fun. Feel free to contact him with any professional inquiries: [email protected]