KING RICHARD is a CINDERELLA-like story about learning to always “be humble, and say thank you” in the face of overwhelming challenges. In it, a nearly unrecognizable Will Smith embodies Richard Williams. He surpasses all expectations as the lead in almost every scene.
I just wrote a review for TICK, TICK… BOOM! stating to “hand Andrew Garfield the Oscar.” Now, I’m not so sure. It’s going to be a head-to-head match-up with Garfield versus Smith. Transparently, I want Garfield to win, but I wouldn’t be upset if Will Smith takes home the gold.
Richard Williams was “in the champion raising business.” Not a spoiler since we all know his vision for Serena and Venus Williams came true. This unbelievable true story captures the family’s sacrifices for that to become a reality.
What I loved about KING RICHARD was Richard’s conviction not to let his daughters skip out on childhood. The film looks into why tennis stars burned out at a young age and his steps to prevent his daughters from experiencing the same.
My one nit with this film is the length. At almost two and a half hours, it’s just too long for a character study. Similar themes are repeated at nauseam, and what could’ve been an A+ film with an Oscar performance lands in the B+ zone.
At one point, Will Smith as Richard sings Kenny Rogers “The Gambler.” It’s a perfect analogy as Richard knew exactly “when to hold ’em.” If only the film knew “when to walk away.”
It’s available on HBO MAX and in theatres.