First Glance: “King Richard”

As someone not all that acquainted with the world of tennis, the name Richard Williams doesn’t really ring a bell. But even an out-of-the-loop know-nothing like me can tell you about his two famous daughters Venus and Serena. The new film “King Richard” looks at the life of the tennis pro and father who trained two of the greatest tennis players to play the game. It’s an interesting choice to focus on Richard Williams, but one that lets the filmmakers lean on the star power of Will Smith.

The first trailer dropped a few days ago and much of what we see looks like a pretty traditional biopic. Smith is giving the kind of performance that the Academy eats up – transforming and with the kind of big scenes that grabs the attention of voters. All that said, there is an inspirational story at the film’s core and Smith is an actor who can deliver with the right material. There are also two compelling young actresses playing the super-talented sisters (Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton).

“King Richard” hit theaters November 19th. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

19 thoughts on “First Glance: “King Richard”

  1. This looks like a fine film but… where’s Williams’ adopted white son Aaron? You know, the kid with a mullet who killed someone at a Wimbledon and then made an unexpected comeback against Charles Poole at the 2001 Wimbledon Series where they played a match that lasted 7 days?

    • I can’t recall if a film about tennis was ever a hit. Not that there are many of them. I think they took two cracks at the Billy Jean King “Battle of the Sexes” match from the ’70s. There was Woody Allen’s Match Point, which didn’t do well. But that was less about tennis and more a psychological thriller about greed.

      I’ve been a longtime fan of Tim Matheson. He made one about bowling. Yes, bowling. It was promoted as “Rocky in a bowling alley.” (Ugh.) The movie was Dreamer (1979). It was pleasant enough, but wow, not even Matheson could shake the stink of boredom off it.

  2. I actually teared up a little bit in this… Just hit me different because of when they were little their other sister was killed in a drive by shooting while they were playing tennis. Just one of the bullets hit her and not the others or something like that. Pretty crazy… Emotional I think it is a story that needs to be told as they took a totally different path to success in Tennis. Showing no matter what you do if you work hard you will be successful.

    • Plenty of important messaging for sure. And inspiration. I just hope it doesn’t stick to the same old biopic playbook. I want it to tell the story with life and energy. Hopefully the filmmakers make that a priority.

  3. I agree with your take: a traditional biopic that the Oscar’s eat up. That’s what I am seeing in the trailer. It will surely win multiple nods, of course.

    This just might be a solid box office hit because, as you said: the many (including me) do not know much about tennis or the professional/personal lives of the Williams sisters. However, on the flip side: Who wants to see a movie about tennis? This can’t be by the numbers. If there’s no life or energy behind the presentation, it’ll sink.

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