King Richard parents guide

King Richard Parent Guide

This film is a granite-hard story of resilience and tenacity.

Overall B-

In Theaters and HBO Max: This biopic tells the story of Richard Williams, father and trailblazing tennis coach for his famous daughters, Venus and Serena Williams.

Release date November 19, 2021

Violence C+
Sexual Content A-
Profanity C-
Substance Use A

Why is King Richard rated PG-13? The MPAA rated King Richard PG-13 for some violence, strong language, a sexual reference and brief drug references

Run Time: 138 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Every parent has dreams for their children, but Richard Williams (Will Smith) goes several steps further. This father of five daughters created a seventy-page plan on how to raise the best tennis players in the world. This would be an ambitious goal for any parent, but Richard and his wife Brandy (Aunjanue Ellis) are raising their daughters in Compton and trying to break through in a sport dominated by white players with access to top tier coaches. A Black security guard coaching his daughters on community courts seems unlikely to beat the odds – but Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton) are no ordinary athletes…

King Richard is a granite-hard story of resilience and tenacity on the part of both Richard and his gifted daughters. The girls dedicate themselves to grueling practices along with rigorous focus on academics. They have apparently unbreakable self-assurance built on a clear-headed assessment of their skills and constant reminders of their worth. Richard dedicates himself to coaching his girls and finding opportunities for their advancement. He makes promotional videotapes and brochures, hoping to find a coach willing to teach them for free. He also tries to protect his girls in their dangerous neighborhood, which sees him beaten on more than one occasion. Despite the opposition, neither Richard nor his daughters ever quit.

Along with its messages about persistence, the movie also portrays a strong, loving family. Brandy is nurturing and devoted, the sisters are united and affectionate, and Richard is completely committed. This production illustrates the strength that kids draw from a loving, united family circle with clearly articulated goals and standards. The true story depicted here can encourage teenage viewers to reach for their dreams, work hard, and (maybe) listen to their parents.

On the downside, King Richard is often an uncomfortable film. I was never quite certain if Richard Williams was a brilliantly unorthodox father who was totally committed to his kids or if he was an obsessive eccentric who was forcing his daughters to follow the path he set for them. I also struggled to decide if he was simply a strict parent with firm rules or if he was sliding over the line into unhealthy levels of control. There’s no doubt this movie will have parents debating the pros and cons of Richard’s parenting style while also assessing their own philosophy.

The rise of Venus and Serena Williams to sports superstardom is a compelling story; sadly, the movie is much less fascinating. For starters, it’s long, clocking in at over two hours. It’s possible that the movie will seem more lively to tennis fans; I have to confess that there is no number small enough to quantify my level of disinterest in the sport. Not surprisingly, I found the tennis playing scenes interminable, but I’m fully prepared to believe that tennis fans will find them riveting. In fact, I accept that my disinterest in the sport taints my ability to be objective about the film. What I can objectively state is that the script contains about eight swear words and ten racial epithets aimed at Black characters. It also has some violent scenes where a man is beaten by a group of men. It fits comfortably in the PG-13 rating category but isn’t suited to kids, who would likely not be interested anyway.

If you are a tennis fan, King Richard might interest you. If you want to watch another take on racism in sports, this film has something to say. But if you’re looking for a fun popcorn movie to while away a Friday night, you’re better off finding a spandex-clad superhero with a simpler agenda and a less complicated personality.

Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green. Starring Will Smith, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Aunjanue Ellis. Running time: 138 minutes. Theatrical release November 19, 2021. Updated

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King Richard
Rating & Content Info

Why is King Richard rated PG-13? King Richard is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some violence, strong language, a sexual reference and brief drug references

Violence: A man punches another man in the stomach. A man punches a man and hits him with a tennis racket. A group of men punch and kick another one. A man puts a gun against a man’s head. A man is shot in a drive-by.
Sexual Content: A man uses a crude term for having sexual relations.
Profanity: The movie contains one sexual expletive, four scatological curses, two terms of deity, a minor curse word and 10 racial epithets aimed at Black characters.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.

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King Richard Parents' Guide

What do you think of Richard Williams’ approach to coaching his daughters? Do you think he was too controlling or do you think it was necessary in the conditions of their neighborhood?

For more information about the historical accuracy of the movie, check out the link below:

Slate: What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in King Richard?


Home Video

Related home video titles:

Coaches are popular subjects for sports films. In Coach Carter, a high school basketball coach takes drastic measures, locking the gym and canceling games until his players improve their grades. In the 1960s, coach Don Haskins changes sports history when he signs Black players to his college basketball team in Glory Road. After three local high schools are integrated, the football coach works to create a unified team in Remember the Titans. A track coach has to battle his own demons while helping his largely Hispanic runners succeed in McFarland, USA.