KING RICHARD – Review By Gadi Elkon

Will Smith’s twice Oscar-nominated status may well become winner after his performance in KING RICHARD.  Is the entire film worthy of your time and money?

Based on the true story that will inspire the world, Warner Bros. Pictures’ “King Richard follows the journey of Richard Williams, an undeterred father instrumental in raising two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time, who will end up changing the sport of tennis forever.

For my simple answer to the above question, YES.  King Richard is a real triumph as it highlights the early life of Venus and Serena Williams under the tight grip of their obsessive father.  That obsession maybe a debatable issue in how we raise gifted child athletes but in this case the tremendous success of the Williams’ sisters is a victorious match.

With the fire power of Will Smith the Writer Zach Baylin and Director Reinaldo Marcus Green are unknown in comparison.  Now fans of the underrated series TOP BOY should know Green is legit.  With this unique choice of Writer and Director they are surrounded by total Oscar worthy talent.  Along with Smith in front of the lens the camera itself is in control of Oscar-Winning DP Robert Elswit.  The tremendously talented DP completely captures the importance of the story and allows for the tennis elements to have a timeless quality.  Add in the perfect touch of Oscar-nominated Editor Pamela Martin and this team seems like a perfect construction.  Martin’s specific work on the tennis film, Battle of the Sexes, seems an obvious connection but her work on Little Miss Sunshine is just as important as this film showcases it’s young ladies so well.  Both Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton are real highlights as Venus and Serena Williams.  The casting choices that really standout though are Aunjanue Ellis as Oracene ‘Brandy’ Williams aka the Queen in this royal tale and Jon Bernthal as the fiery Rick Macci is amazing.  Bernthal holds his own in every scene especially his battles with Smith’s King Richard.  The perfect lessons in tension between Ellis/Bernthal vs Smith is worth your money.  Rounding out the family are the humor-filled performances by Mikayla Lashae Bartholomew (Tunde), Daniele Lawson (Isha) and Layla Crawford (Lyndrea).  This film though is all about Will Smith interacting with everyone else.  His complete transformation is embodied in his slight accent, short shorts and scruffy beard.  The film is a masterwork from the iconic Prince of Bel Air now turned King.

Easily one of the year’s most endearing and entertaining films.  No need to ramble on I’ll just say game, set, match.



Directed by: Reinaldo Marcus Green

Written by: Zach Baylin

Rated: PG-13

Selig Rating: 4.5 Stars

Running Time: 2 hrs 18 min

Biography Drama Sport

Now playing in theaters and on HBO MAX.

Starring: Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Jon Bernthal, Saniyya Sidney, and Demi Singleton 


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

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