Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Story By: Zach Baylin
Cast: Will Smith, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Aunjanue Ellis, Jon Bernthal, & Tony Goldwyn
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This is a biographical story that you didn’t know you needed, and puts some real respect on Venus’ name.
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Below are my grades for key components in #KingRichard that I find to be key in any story/film/series—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character (pertaining to arc/development &/or delivery). FYI: My A=95, A- =90, B=85, B-=80…etc. My D- =60 and my F=50
Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch/$$$, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start, OR experience is intentionally relevant to the genre and executed well–nothing more), Wait for Streaming, Don’t Rush, & Don’t Watch.
I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.
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Plot & Story: A-
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General Public: Worth the $$/Watch
Film Enthusiasts: Worth the $$/Watch
Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Don’t Rush
Drama / Biographical Fans: Worth the $$/Watch
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1. King Richard tells the story of the drive, dream, love, protection, and commitment carried by the father of Venus and Serena Williams in order to get them to where they are today in the world of sports and tennis. This film is possibly one of the tightest told stories I’ve seen this year. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾
Act One opens with Will Smith embodying Richard Williams and his love for both the sport of tennis and his girls, as well as his drive to getting them seen by important people in the tennis world. Additionally, the first act gives space to showcasing his protection and commitment to his girls and the game via conflicts with his environment.
Act Two does quite a few great things connected to the premise of the story. First, it continues to follow through with the premise of the story via the new opportunity presented all because of Richard’s drive, love, and commitment for his girls and this dream. Then, it shows the commitment, love, drive, and dedication for this sport by Serena and her mother as a “H.O.V Lane”-storyline (if you will) takes place. Lastly, Act Two allows the audience to also get pulled into this love and dream for tennis as we watch the coaching and training by Venus and Serena.
Act Three takes time to use tension between Richard and those close to him to add a new layer to the following through on Richard’s love, commitment, drive, dream, and protection for his girls and tennis. Now…how one aspect of the tension comes up feels slightly sudden and forced for another level of drama, but it was at least brought full circle in order to be relevant.
2. When the beads emerged… baby, listen! 😩🙌🏾
3. Not the fart! 😂😂😂
4. King Richard moves in such a nice and meticulous way which is why I say that the story is one of the tightest I’ve seen this year. 👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾
The film wastes no time getting right to the tennis, and right to the pebbles of conflict and tension Richard faces while on a journey towards that dream. Additionally, the charm of Will Smith’s performance helps this biographical drama move with such genuine entertainment.
5. Speaking of Will Smith’s performance, there is such a handsome ass, charm and seamless effort to how Will Smith delivers his characters. I read in a book that some of the best and memorable performances of actors in biopics are those who not only embody the character being portrayed, but also figure out how to put themselves in that portrayal. I felt that I was able to truly see Richard Williams (especially once you see the end credits with the actual footage) while also enjoying the personality we are familiar with when it comes to Will Smith—especially in Act Two when engaged with the white men.
The character arc/development was something else that I found to be strong as well. Each Act had a moment where viewers experienced Richard dealing with conflicts and/or situations that attempted to interfere with premise of the story. There was the environmental in Act One, the partnership with his wife vs his “plan” in Act Two, and the tension between him and Venus in Act Three.👍🏾👍🏾
6. The post credit scenes… 😩🙌🏾
7. I really enjoyed how natural the banter and chemistry with the girls were. You’d think they were actually sisters. 👍🏾👍🏾
8. Look…Richard had a guardian angel “that night.” 👀🤭
9. The messaging seemed very clear from the beginning— “The importance of staying the course by believing in the course we set for ourselves.” 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
Act One gives space to seeing the course being set up and established by Richard which aligns perfectly to the premise of the plot. Act Two is the tending to of the course through the training and coaching, as well as the persistence of Richard. Act Three is the harvesting along that course.
Additionally, we see this message constantly present via Richard’s actions and dialogue with others and his girls, as well as through the tensions.
10. Aunjanue Ellis was such a surprise stand out! I loved her SO MUCH! 👏🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
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Overall #KingRichard gives The Jacksons: An American Dream – meets Daddy’s Little Girls – meets The Pursuit of Happyness – meets Boys in the Hood – meets LaVar Ball.
I really enjoyed Saniyya Sidney’s and Demi Singleton’s performances portraying Venus and Serena, respectively, and I definitely see why there’s Oscar buzz regarding Will Smith.
Now the film does take a direction that might come as a surprise for most people only because of what we’re “familiar with.”—it did take me by surprise in the beginning until things started to register, which made me appreciate the story even more.