Linda Cook review: ‘King Richard’ is a winner for families this holiday season

Movies

Will Smith stars in “King Richard.”

Even though you know how it ends, this true-to-life sports story will give you insight on two tennis icons.

Three, actually.

“King Richard,” with a noteworthy turn by Will Smith in the titular role, shows us the ups and downs of the father determined to raise two tennis stars.

Director Reinaldo Marcus Green’s biopic is more about Richard Williams than it is about his daughters Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton.)

Richard refuses to let go of the idea that his daughters will be tennis stars. He is relentless in his discipline and unwavering in his belief that his style of parenting and training will give his daughters the break they need to get out of Compton, Calif., and on to professional tennis courts.

Meanwhile, the girls practice on courts that have seen better days. The family faces threats, and sometimes downright violence, from gang members in the neighborhood, too.

Through it all, Serena and Venus practice, practice, practice, with Richard coaching them along the way – even in the rain. Over and over, Richard beseeches professional coaches to help his daughters.

This is Smith’s showcase. He plays a father who’s not always likeable, but that’s because he has his family’s best interest in mind. For only a few seconds toward the end, there’s a surprising revelation that’s treated as a throwaway. The movie would have been even stronger if we had learned more about Richard at that moment.

Although this is not a family movie per se – it’s rated the way it is because of some adult material – it’s a great film for families with older kids, particularly those interested in sports, to watch during the holiday season.

It’s also a way to learn about prejudice, assumptions, and the history that the Williams sisters have made.

3 stars

Running time: Two hours and 24 minutes.

Rated: PG-13 for foul language, violence and other adult themes.

In theaters and streaming on HBO Max.

Watch the trailer here.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories