Sometimes, our parents will push us and make us do things we may not want to do. Still, they only do so because they believe in us want the best for us. This message couldn’t be more true for Richard Williams, father to Venus and Serena Williams. “King Richard,” a biographical film, tells the story of Richard Williams, an undeterred father who was influential in raising Venus and Serena and propelling them into stardom. Because of Richard’s actions, Venus and Serena would change the sport of tennis forever. At its core, this film is about a family who supports each other in pursuing a dream.
The Williams family lived in Compton, California, a place that’s known for violence and tragedy. Richard Williams shielded his daughters from what was going on in the community, using sports and education as a vessel. Venus and Serena shared a bedroom in Compton with three sisters, learning tennis on a pack-marked neighborhood court. Thanks to their father’s guidance, these two Black girls would dominate tennis for years to come.
“King Richard” roughly covers the seven years that the Williamses spent trying to propel Venus into stardom in hopes of Serena following behind her. It starts with Richard mailing his highlight reels of the girls to various tennis coaches around the country. The film’s director, Reinaldo Marcus Green, is a former baseball player who made two attempts at the Major Leagues before getting into directing. He says he relates to Venus and Serena because he grew up an athlete and his father also used unconventional methods like Richard Williams. Green said he only knew the basics of the Williams sister’s story, but he wanted to learn more beyond what was on the internet. He also wanted to make sure that the script helped viewers learn more about the Williams family.
The biggest thing that Green says he learned while making the film was that the whole family was instrumental in Venus and Serena’s success. When Venus and Serena went to the tennis court, all of the sisters went. Their mother was working full-time while coaching them. It was indeed a family affair. Because of the Williams family’s involvement with the film, people may assume that the family would hide unsavory aspects of their lives. However, Green says it was the opposite. He says the family wanted the movie to be truthful, with no additions for dramatic purposes.
The biggest thing that Green wants moviegoers to take away from this film is that anything is possible with self-belief and determination. If you believe in yourself and find the right mentors, you can do great things in life. Richard Williams may not have been a traditional father, but he wanted the best for children. His unconventional methods instilled confidence in his daughters and showed them that they were capable of greatness. Because of Richard Williams’ methods, Serena has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, more than any other woman or man during the open era. Venus turned pro at the age of 14 and revolutionized the game of tennis. The film “King Richard” shows how there isn’t anything a father wouldn’t do for his daughters. “King Richard” will be in theatres and on HBOMax on November 19, 2021.