Sports films can often be derided for being over formulaic & contrived, much like the subject matter of King Richard (Richard Williams) often was during the rise of the undisputed greatest female tennis players ever – Venus & Serena Williams.
Portrayed by Will Smith this film follows Richard Williams, & his famous daughters, throughout their formulation years as young girls honing their skills as child tennis prodigies. Even before their birth Richard Williams had grand plans, and a very precise path mapped out, for their careers of his youngest daughters. It is this plan & his often outspoken, self aggrandising nature that saw Richard often derided in the media as his daughters fame grew. Smith’s portrayal of Williams is a very sympathetic one, as we see a loving father who’s entire life has been guided by poverty, racism & violence.
King Richard attempts to straddle a fine line between formulaic sports drama & touching biopic, which is does quite well. Obviously there are moments when the film feels like it a sports drama with the sisters overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds but the levity & emotion of the biopic elements elevate this film to another level.
King Richard serves up an ace which Venus or Serena would have been envious of.