WHAT'S IT ABOUT

Venus and Serena Williams, two of the greatest tennis players to ever play the sport, occasionally appear in this movie that focuses entirely on their arsehole of a dad.

What did we think

  1. Peter Linning December 16, 2021

    King Richard follows Will Smith in his relentless pursuit of an award statue, hitting all the predictable beats of a biographical drama while failing to generate any affection or sympathy for his character. The movie establishes early on that Richard planned out his daughter’s careers before they were born, pushed them into training from an early age, and did so on the basis of securing financial security for himself. Over the course of the movie he constantly ignores their wishes, interferes with their professional development, and engages in shameless self-promotion. It took me a while to realise that this wasn’t the setup for a storyline about learning and redemption, the audience is actually supposed to root for this man. Will Smith dominates the movie with a suffocating presence that reflects Richard’s involvement in the sisters’ training, with perhaps two or three scenes that don’t revolve entirely around him. The young actresses playing the sisters are quite good, as is Jon Bernthal as their coach, but their characters are given little to do except react to Richard’s controlling and overbearing behaviour. Both the movie and the character clumsily attempt to address themes of class and race, but entirely from the perspective of the borderline-abusive Richard instead of Venus and Serena. I powerfully disliked this movie.

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