“King Richard” shines light on early journey of Venus and Serena Williams

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(Last Updated On: November 19, 2021)

Photo caption: (l-r) Demi Singleton as Serena Williams, Will Smith as Richard Williams, and Saniyya Sidney as Venus Williams in Warner Bros. Pictures’ inspiring drama “KING RICHARD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. | Photo credit: Chiabella James | © 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved

Two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith delivers a powerful performance in his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis greats, Venus and Serena Williams, in the soon-to-release biopic, King Richard. The film takes a step back in time to unfold the story of the humble beginnings of the powerhouse tennis duo who transformed the landscape of tennis and the father who taught them their greatest lesson – to believe in themselves.

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures Movie Poster

In the span of one hour and forty-four minutes, Smith channels the eccentric spirit and unorthodox coaching style of Venus and Serena’s father as he imparts his philosophy on life and methodical plan for success to his daughters. The true-life story chronicles the life and idiosyncrasies of a man who endured ridicule and, at times, physical assaults, in the early days of honing his daughters’ skills on the public tennis courts of Compton to Serena’s first professional match at the age of 14.

The film is heartwarming, inspiring, and empowering as the audience gets a peek into the family’s early beginnings in a small framed house on the south side of Los Angeles where their father sought to protect his daughters from the negative influences of drug dealers and gang members while pointing them to their destinies.

Watching Will Smith embody Venus and Serena’s father, who is part showman and part protective dad wrapped into one, is uplifting and entertaining, as we watch his undaunted responses to skeptics and his singular focus on ensuring his daughters’ success, play out on the big screen.

The resemblance of Saniyya Sidney (Venus) and Demi Singleton (Serena) to the characters they portray in King Richard is uncanny, and the pair do more than justice to the tennis phenoms through their endearing performances.

Aunjanue Ellis, who portrays Venus and Serena’s mother, brings to life the frustration, of playing second fiddle in her husband’s all-consuming quest to turn his daughters into forces to be reckoned with on the tennis court, as she simultaneously depicts her character’s faith-driven commitment to stand by her husband at all costs in guiding their daughters to greatness.

More than a film, King Richard, is a fulfilling look back at history that lifts the curtain on the lives of a driven father, supportive mother, and two talented and gifted daughters turned tennis phenoms, and the love, support, and confidence that was instilled in them long before they would step on to the courts of Wimbledon and take their hard-earned and rightful throne as tennis royalty.

It is a must-see film that should earn Smith an Oscar for his earthy portrayal of a man who deserves the title the film bestows on him for his determined and passionate quest to not only usher his daughters to greatness but create a platform to encourage every young person of color to believe in their own potential for greatness.

Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the film was directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green and produced by Tim White, Trevor White, and Will Smith. The biopic, due in theaters on Nov. 19, stars Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis; Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Tony Goldwyn, and Jon Bernthal.