The King has a Plan


Benjamin Hoppe

A picture of the King Richard movie poster. The movie is only available to watch in certain theaters, but is currently on HBO and Amazon Prime Video.

Benjamin Hoppe, News Editor

The journey to becoming a professional athlete is not easy in any sport, but it was even more difficult for two girls who grew up in Compton, near Los Angeles, California. They grew up around gangs and violence but never failed to miss a day practicing the sport they loved: tennis. Every day, they would go to public courts to practice with their dad. Through good practices, bad practices, rain, or sun, they would be out there, getting better each day. Their names are Serena and Venus Williams, but there was one man who influenced them the most. His name was Richard Williams, the father of Serena and Venus, and he had a plan.

The movie “King Richard,” which debuted on November 19, 2021, is based on real-life events. It is about how Richard Williams trained two of his daughters to be some of, if not the best, tennis players of all time. Richard made sure that his daughters got all A’s and still had a normal life outside of playing tennis all of the time. Most importantly though, he made sure they followed his plan. Williams knew his daughters were going to be great, but he had a very specific plan for them. When he took them to practice in front of the top tennis coaches in America, he would constantly disagree with what the coaches wanted Serena and Venus to do, even to the extent where he wouldn’t let them play in tennis tournaments. Despite all of the backlash he got though, he was right about everything. He knew Venus was going to be world number one someday, and he also knew that even though Serena would be in her shadow for a while, that Serena would be the best tennis player of all time. Nearly everyone doubted Richard, but it was his plan that helped get Venus and Serena Williams to be where they are today.

 Since this movie was based on real-life events, it’s only fair to talk about the accuracies and inaccuracies of the movie. Overall, the movie was very accurate and even got some of the smallest details right. Things such as using the same car the Williams family drove, using a shopping cart as a ball cart, playing a video of Serena and Venus introducing themselves, and playing tennis, including the same outfits they wore in real life, were all details included in the movie. These were fairly small details, but they made it seem like the real Williams family was on the screen. The movie also portrayed other major moments in the tennis world, such as the arrest of Jennifer Capriati and the match between Venus Williams and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, a former world number one.

 Along with the many accuracies in “King Richard,” there were also some things that seemed a little off. The movie seemed to portray nearly every junior tennis player Venus played as an angry brat who smashes their tennis racket every time they lost. It may have been true that Venus frustrated her opponents, but probably not to the extent the movie seemed to portray. Probably the biggest inaccuracy in the movie was that before Venus was set to play Sanchez Vicario, Richard Williams claimed he was confident that Venus would win, but according to a New York Times article from 1994, Williams said he figured Venus would lose in a close, three-set match to Sanchez Vicario.

Overall, not getting into the tiny details that were accurate or inaccurate, the movie was very interesting. Whether you’re a tennis fan or not, you’ll learn a lot of new things about the other members of the Williams family, the journey of becoming a professional tennis player, and the main character, Richard Williams. The one part of the film that wasn’t great was that the movie wasn’t about Richard Williams and the Williams sisters Venus and Serena, but rather the focus was mostly on Richard and Venus. At the beginning of the movie, it seemed that it would be about both sisters, but then it started to focus on Venus only. Besides that though, the movie was great and portrayed the lives of the Williams family incredibly well.

Lastly, there are many ways to view this movie, in theaters or at home. Most movie theaters near you are showing “King Richard,” but I’d suggest any AMC theater. The theater is always clean, the seats recline to your liking, and most importantly, are heated. The other option for viewing the movie is to watch it on HBO Max, which if you don’t have a subscription, costs $14.99 for one month, which is less than the price of two tickets to see it in the theater. However you choose to watch the movie, should you choose to do so, you’ll enjoy the story that is told and, at the very least, the acting of Will Smith as Richard Williams, or King Richard.