King Richard (2021)
Oscar season or not, Will Smith needs to play more bad guys. I say this because he's becoming about as predictable as Michael Bublé when he hears that Asda has put out the first larger than average order for turkeys.
This is great, however, and admittedly now is a good time for release. Smith plays Richard Williams, a father of five daughters, two of which ended up being a bit handy with a tennis racket. I'm guessing, somewhat cynically maybe, that Smiths' eyes lit up with the chance of portraying this unique, driven black parent from Compton, facing up to a sporting culture that he was, knowingly, about to change for the better.
His vision, belief and confidence was quite remarkable and, more importantly, hereditary. Instilling such feelings in his children when seen from a distance seems nothing more than magical. The film goes to some length to tell us all 'he told you so', even if it was with help from more people than he recognises and some natural talent, which still needed to be there, in order for it to be nurtured at all.
It's important for the film to show us that he is not perfect. Of course, he is human and has flaws all of his own, but his blinkered determination and bullish, stubborn belief is one very important bonus for the things he lacks. Smith portrays this as well as the words that sit on the page ever will be spoken, bringing this viewer to insist he had something in his eyes on at least two occasions.
Unapologetically sentimental at times, it can come off as a bit too Hallmark, but the story is a special one that every viewer, especially loving parents, can get behind and handled carefully with due diligence, albeit unashamedly biased.
Completely watchable throughout, even for those not mad keen on tennis, as this is as much about patience, humility and family values as it is sports. Recommended.