demi adejuyigbe’s review published on Letterboxd:
wow, i cried though soooo much of this. i have not (consciously) lived in a world without venus and serena as legends, so it’s always been kind of lost to me just how much of a breakthrough they were in the tennis world. until watching this i also didn’t really realize i had never seen a sports movie about black girls. the realization came to me over and over as i watched this and i started crying every time, which is more a credit to the history than the film itself, save for a few moments that made the history feel so potent; venus walking onto the green at her final match, learning she went 63-0, seeing her walk past her white competitors and cheer in the mirror, seeing all the black women in the crowd at her final match, hearing her say she wanted other people to want to play like her. i fell for it all like a true sucker. sure this is a sports biopic by the numbers, that only occasionally rises to my own description of “I, Tonya by way of LaVar Ball,” but it worked on me.
will smith has spent his career telling stories of the dad that he wishes he had, the dad he hopes to be, and even though he only feels a few shades away from The Pursuit of Happyness in this movie, i liked him. absolutely could’ve been an all-time performance for a character actor (Rob Morgan’s King Richard would’ve been an all-time Oscar snub) but who’s gonna buy that movie, y’know? everybody’s good in this!! the casting for venus and serena is unbelievably good. there’s a moment where serena turns at the end and i thought “oh my god that’s fucking serena” and i started crying again. didn’t cry at Up but a slight profile turn got the pupils drippin. who knows what’s going on with me. they should remake Up with black girls who play tennis