Home Lifestyle An uneven score: Rudraneil Sengupta on the Will Smith film King Richard

An uneven score: Rudraneil Sengupta on the Will Smith film King Richard

by thesquadron.in
0 comment

It is a pity that Will Smith’s violent outburst at the Oscars has drawn attention away from the film he won Best Actor for. Ironically, it’s about a man who struggled and strove, raised a large family in a violent neighbourhood, aimed high and achieved greatly, and did it all without (to our knowledge) resorting to violence.

Smith plays the lead role in King Richard, a biopic on the father of tennis legends Venus Williams and Serena Williams. This is a man who was so driven that he had a 78-page plan for making the girls great tennis players, before they were even born.

Richard, as Smith plays him, is a man haunted by racism, poverty and the violent streets of Compton, California, where he is raising his large family.

The film is enjoyable, if hagiographical. There are moments of conflict and grit, but never any doubt that this is a feel-good movie focused on triumph. A bouncy, pop-ish verve runs through it. It’s the story of two young girls who say “Yes daddy” in the cutest way, in response to everything their controlling father throws at them.

There is a brief but dazzlingly powerful scene in which Richard’s wife Oracene Price (Aunjanue Ellis) calls Richard out for his controlling behaviour, his affairs, his children with other women, and for always hogging the credit, even when it was she who deserved it (they both, incidentally, coached and mentored the Williams sisters).

But there is little on all the ways in which he imposed his will on his daughters. It doesn’t touch upon how he banned them from dating, or ripped the heads off any dolls that Venus brought home, because he thought they might encourage thoughts of motherhood.

Though Smith is the dramatic centre of the film — he’s in almost every shot — it’s the girls playing the Williams sisters (Demi Singleton and Saniyya Sidney) who stole the show for me. I searched for clips from Serena and Venus’s teen years, the period depicted in the movie, immediately after watching King Richard, and the resemblance in their mannerisms, their speech and, most impressively, their playing style was uncanny.

Shot from the back, when Singleton rushes towards a ball and whips a forehand across the court, her trailing leg bent and off the ground, it’s hard to tell whether it’s the actor or Serena herself.

In many ways, the movie reminded me of Dangal (2016), which also focused on the father of two sisters, Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari, who became sporting stars. It too was full of fun and verve in the face of adversity, and had particularly realistic scenes depicting their sport (wrestling).

Like King Richard, Dangal was hagiographical. Like King Richard, it ignored the other children in the family, to the point of almost leaving them out altogether.

Richard was a father who obsessively engineered the lives of Serena and Venus, but for all that, he was a loving and caring parent. In the world of tennis, that’s not always the case, as any number of greats — from Andre Agassi (whose autobiography describes his father as “violent by nature”) to Jelena Dokic (her autobiography speaks of alleged physical and emotional abuse) and Mary Pierce (who once got a restraining order and hired bodyguards to protect herself from her father) — will tell you.

Source link

You may also like

Leave a Comment

The Squadron

World New | India News | Entertainment | Lifestyle | Sports | Opinion


Subscribe my Newsletter for new blog posts, tips & new photos. Let's stay updated!

Laest News

@2021 – White SEO LAB

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More