No Kings in King Richard

The critically beloved Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) wandered from its most interesting subject, Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), to re-frame the success of Queen through the surviving members of the band. At times, the movie’s very purpose seemed to be to set the record straight on who wrote what song, whose idea that was. One didn’t need to look at the credits to learn the surviving band members produced the film. The framing of the narrative made that abundantly clear. King Richard suffers from the same disorder: a conflict of interest. 

Director Reinaldo Marcus Green and producers Venus and Serena Williams attempted to offset the bias-framing by positioning their father, Richard Williams (Will Smith), as the main character. The Williams sisters have long been known for their humility, a too rare trait for world-class athletes. And odd as it may seem, this humility ultimately holds the film back: the movie really should have been about them. 

The importance of humility is front-and-center of the childhood depicted here: Richard at one point even makes the entire family study Cinderella to instill the virtue after the girls bragged vigorously following Venus’ latest tournament victory. The ultimate gesture of humility for a movie produced by two of the greatest athletes in the world that happen to be sisters? Have Will Smith play your father in a movie titled King Richard and recede into the background. Serena (Demi Singleton) is particularly subtracted from her own etiology at the expense of their father.

Continue reading at the Boston Hassle.

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