If you’re unfamiliar with the backstory of tennis megastars Venus and Serena Williams, here’s a decent introduction to one of the greatest underdog stories in sport – a thrilling rise from courts strewn with broken glass in Compton, LA, to triumph at Wimbledon. If you do know it, this is an amiable enough overview, with the occasional ‘say what?’ moment.
The filmmakers are granted generous access to the sisters throughout an injury-troubled 2011. They interlace archive footage and talking heads (including Bill Clinton and Vogue editor Anna Wintour) with this contemporary narrative to tell their tale. But such intimate access perhaps came with a price, one that necessitated this doc be a love letter rather than an analysis. It frequently touches on then skips over some of the stranger or more tragic aspects of their story. For instance, Venus talks about how, as a Jehovah’s Witness, she believes that a woman should be submissive in marriage and explains that her solution is to not get married. This extraordinary statement isn’t really probed. Quibbles aside, it’s an engaging watch, even if you’re not that fussed about tennis.