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King Richard

Bit of a weird experience, this. It has all the uplifting and inspirational bits that you’d expect from a sports movie, but everything in-between feels off. I think what I struggled most with is I’m not sure what the film wants me to think of Richard Williams, and I’m not entirely sure that what he did was all that positive. 

That isn’t to take anything away from the Williams sisters. Obviously what they’ve achieved is remarkable and will probably never happen again, but this film centres around how Richard had a plan for all that to happen and how that all worked out. I don’t know how true to life this is but it seems to be despite him rather than because of him. For example, he ignores Serena for most of the film, then when she’s understandably a bit put out by that, he tells her this is all part of his plan for her to become the best tennis player of all time. Sure, it happened, but I’m not convinced even he believes it was because he’d planned it. In fact, I’m sure the scene only happens because the filmmakers realised they’d forgotten about her. 

There’s also scene where Nike are pitching a contract at Richard and he insists that they should be pitching directly to Venus. This is after about two hours of most of her dialogue being one word responses to something he’s said. In fact, there’s a scene where she says about ten words in a row unprompted and I was really taken aback by it. She only gets given autonomy when it can be used to make Richard look like a good guy, and it comes off completely false. Given that the success of the sisters is the remarkable part of this story, it’s really disappointing that they don’t get any characterisation.

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