In Review: King Richard

In King Richard, tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams are the latest to get the sports biopic treatment with minimal deviance from the formula, all filtered through the lens of their somewhat eccentric father Richard (Will Smith). The film begins with the Williams family in Compton, with Richard juggling their training schedule (and three other daughters) on opposite schedules with his wife Brandy (Aunjanue Ellis). As Richard woos noted trainers (first Tony Goldwyn as Paul Cohen, later the slick Jon Bernthal as Rick Macci) for his daughters, we see the divergent journeys for both Venus and Serena as the elder sister is given preferential coaching and begins racking up youth tournament wins. The real character study begins as Richard pulls the girls from competing, instilling a delayed power struggle between a father trying to protect his children from the pressures of the world and two young virtuoso athletes ready to take control of their own destiny.

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