Venus and Serena Williams’ father is Richard Williams. The legend of his plan to groom Venus and Serena to be the greatest tennis players of all time is well documented.

King Richard is the story of where and how that plan began…

Story: I keep fighting the urge to use the word inspirational, but, I’ve seen few films that meet that test as well. It’s up there with Rudy. More importantly though, the writing and dialogue leave no unanswered questions. There is also such an honesty to the way this story is told.

The emotion is captured… the girls politeness is featured and the highlight on the black family is vivid. The dynamic between Compton and the country club is spot-on. This story is in full balance…

Performances: Will Smith as Richard Williams, Aunjanue Ellis as Brandi Williams, Jon Bernthal as Rick Macci. These are the standout performances.

Will Smith in particular meets my litmus test for an Oscar win. You will find yourself looking for Will Smith as Richard Williams only to realize you think you are really watching… Richard Williams. And Aunjanue Ellis is the realization of the Black mother.

I will admit I was surprised by the willingness of the coaches to take on the girls and acquiesce to Richard, but, Tony Goldwyn as Paul Cohen is a real person with a real Williams’ sisters story. As for Jon Bernthal as Rick Macci, his energy and enthusiasm for the girls came through.

Of note: The girls who played Venus and Serena can’t be left out, but, I think the dynamic between them and their three older sisters collectively is a special display of unity not to be missed.

Visual: The look of this film is hard to pinpoint. Maybe it’s a product of the 90’s not being so clearly identifiable like the 60’s or 70’s, but I didn’t find the look so gripping. I think the imagery might be more vivid as mentioned previously. The scenes where the Williams family is the only black family at a tournament or at a country club put the visual on display.

Rating: Solid A. I’ve reviewed few films of late that have an equally strong story and performances. It’s been one or the other. King Richard is that film. It checks off every box for perseverance, dedication and faith. And it’s a look into exercising racial sensitivity.

See this film. Consider your perspective on diversity. Then pass it on…