Review: ‘King Richard’ displays Black fatherhood appreciation on big screen

By Justyn Fulton, Dec. 7, 2021

Black athletes normally speak about how impactful their mothers are in their life but, in new film “King Richard,” Venus and Serena Williams give the garden of flowers to their father, Richard Williams.

As a reimagined true story, from the very opening scene, the aura of Los Angeles in the 1990s shines through. From the vintage Volkswagen to the windbreaker jackets, Director Reinaldo Marcus Green beautifully allows the audience to feel the raw atmosphere of the 1990s. With the environment of Compton, California, Williams shapes his daughters with the notion that they are the champions of their own lives.

Will Smith’s acting is alluring as he truly shows his versatility in the film with skills such as his emotional range that creates multiple heart wrenching scenes to his dialect work with the jive southern accent he uses. Based off watching the highlights of the Williams’ tennis matches from the 90s to the early 2000s he emulates Richard to a tee. Even the costumes that he wears in the movie were nailed perfectly with knee-high socks, tight shorts and a windbreaker.

The film is all about Williams as a dedicated family man. It explores his struggles and feats as he goes to luxury tennis clubs pleading for his daughters to have an opportunity. He trains his daughters in the tennis courts of Compton, California and goes straight to work afterward. From what seems like a never-ending cycle, he works to build up his family.

Focusing on the concept of promoting excellence in Black fatherhood is refreshing, as viewers may have expected to see the journey of Venus and Serena Williams through their perspective.

Williams ensures his daughters with affirmations before they go to sleep as he leaves for his night shift, displaying that “when there is a will, there is a way.” The storyline was compelling, with themes of family and durability.

The cinematography is astounding, with angles that make the viewers feel like they are a bird on a light pole, watching from afar.

While watching the film you can see reenactments of interviews that defined Williams as a father, and how much he truly cared and shaped his daughters today.

“King Richard” gives fans exclusive insight into the childhood of Venus and Serena Williams, as well as a look into the life of Richard Williams, who has not been spoken about as much in media. The film grants perspective on what Black fatherhood should emulate and how inspirational Richard Williams is for today’s Black fathers.

The film is out in theatres and is also available to watch on HBO Max.

Featured image courtesy of Hermes Rivera.

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