Netflix movie of the day: King Richard is a light, engrossing drama with ace acting

A still from the movie King Richard showing Will Smith as Richard Williams surrounded by school children.
(Image credit: Warner Bros Pictures)

If you want to watch something feel-good on Netflix this weekend, this movie about Venus and Serena Williams starting their professional tennis careers – and the work from their dad, Richard, that went into making the break-out possible – is an engrossing story of one family against the world. 

The movie has some fantastic performances, including – but not limited to – an Oscar-winning turn from Will Smith that everyone definitely remembers instead of that other thing he did that night...

Exactly how true to life this movie is remains up in the air – while the Williams family had involvement in the film, there are suggestions that it sugarcoats things in places – but it's still a really compelling watch, and certainly does try to view Richard Williams from more than one angle. 

He infuriates their coaches, he infuriates his wife, he infuriates his daughters when he doesn't bend his 'plans' for them to accommodate their growing independence… but this is how he gets positive results. That tension runs through so much of the movie – should he change as time goes on? Will he change? Can he change?

Despite the name, the movie is quietly Venus and Serena's story, though more Venus. Saniyya Sidney (Venus) and Demi Singleton (Serena) are both superb, and hold their own not only against Will Smith doing a whole physical change in his performance, but also against Jon Bernthal (coach Rick Macci) and Aunjanue Ellis (Oracene Price, Richard's partner) who are both trying to steal the movie in their own ways. Actually, in the same way, really – both are so good at playing that they're dealing with the most aggravating man in the world, whom they have deep affection for fundamentally. 

And you know it's going to have an uplifting ending, because Venus and Serena did not exactly struggle in their careers. Put it on for a fun Friday night light drama, it's a good time.

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Matt Bolton
Managing Editor, Entertainment

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Entertainment, meaning he's in charge of persuading our team of writers and reviewers to watch the latest TV shows and movies on gorgeous TVs and listen to fantastic speakers and headphones. It's a tough task, as you can imagine. Matt has over a decade of experience in tech publishing, and previously ran the TV & audio coverage for our colleagues at, and before that he edited T3 magazine. During his career, he's also contributed to places as varied as Creative Bloq, PC Gamer, PetsRadar, MacLife, and Edge. TV and movie nerdism is his speciality, and he goes to the cinema three times a week. He's always happy to explain the virtues of Dolby Vision over a drink, but he might need to use props, like he's explaining the offside rule.