The Collegian
Thursday, August 18, 2022

Film Fridays: 'King Richard'

<p><em>Graphic by Carissa Gurgul</em></p>

Graphic by Carissa Gurgul

Editor's note: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of The Collegian.  

Will Smith has long been an actor with an impressive range of roles. Smith has showcased his acting talents throughout the years from intergalactic agent in “Men in Black” to an apocalyptic survivor in “I am Legend.” When I first heard that he would be portraying Richard Williams, I was highly intrigued. Audiences have gotten to see Smith take on emotional roles before, but I must say “King Richard” may be one of his best.

While Smith has garnered controversy over his actions at The Oscars, I thought reviewing the film he won Best Actor for would not only be timely, but would help us to better understand why he was so deserving of the award. After all, Smith has played countless roles in the past that could have won him the Oscar, so what made “King Richard” different?

For those who don’t know, Richard Williams is the father and former coach of Venus and Serena Williams. While the duo dominated the tennis world by shattering records and taking down other highly skilled players, it all began with their father and his unrelenting desire for his daughters’ success. He was their biggest fan from day one, however, he drew criticisms over how he was raising his kids and the guidelines he implemented for their careers. The story of how Serena and Venus grew up is brilliantly portrayed in “King Richard,” and I think this role is what Smith will be remembered for.

Not only does Smith capture the character of Richard Williams perfectly but he also demands attention and focus whenever he is on screen. 

While audiences have seen Smith play emotional roles in films before, “King Richard” holds nothing back. While Smith has made us tearful, angry and mournful in films past, his performance as Richard Williams left me with chills and a more profound appreciation for family. Not only is Smith a brilliant actor but the raw emotion and dedication he is able to present is something actors rarely ever share. I don’t think a single film character has left me with such an intense feeling of empowerment, uplift and optimism. Even in the worst of circumstances, Smith demonstrates the raw drive and commitment of Richard Williams that made him fully deserving of winning the Oscar. 

Despite the fact that the film was released on Nov. 19, 2021, it is still incredibly worth the watch. I never got around to watching “King Richard” until recently, and I implore the readers of this column to go watch it. Even if you don’t support or agree with Smith’s actions at The Oscars, “King Richard” is the epitome of an Oscar-worthy performance. With a 90% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “King Richard” is a film that everyone should watch at least once. If not for Will Smith’s performance, watch it for the story of the Williams family and how Venus and Serena began their journey.  

Contact columnist Quinn Humphrey at quinn.humphrey@richmond.edu.

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