“3.5 stars! (A) remarkable journey, which the film documents powerfully from the beginning. Weaving a wealth of archival footage with surprisingly candid interviews with the sisters … the documentary lifts a veil on the tight-knit Williams clan and largely allows the sisters to tell the story themselves.” Liz Clarke, The Washington Post
The movie Venus & Serena now playing at the Avalon Theatre candidly lets us into the lives of sisters Venus and Serena Williams, ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association at the World No. 1 and No. 2 positions respectively after the French Open in 2002. Groomed for greatness by their father Richard, they went on to become the co-world No. 1 players in Women’s Doubles while holding the top two positions in singles as well. To some this alone would be impressive enough to write a biography about or produce a movie however, it’s the adversity the sisters have faced off the court that makes their story noteworthy.
Perhaps the rigorous six hours per day practice sessions facilitated by their father as he read from his tennis manual in their Compton, LA neighborhood set the standard for persevering even when you lack resources or face environmental challenges. The five year old sisters practiced on a pot-holed court in the inner city of Los Angeles preparing for a professional career that would have just as much rigidity for these African American women.
Venus & Serena have faced everything from the shooting death of their older sister Yetunde Price, 31 who was also the sister’s personal assistant in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton, where the Williams family grew up, to health problems that threatened a career. Racism, sexism, wardrobe controversy, and even criticism of the shapely figure of Serena are just a few of the challenges these two phenoms have had to overcome while playing at a level most athletes – not just women athletes – will never get to play. Fast serves and strong returns that frustrate and exhaust their opponents on the court much like their outspoken and driven attitudes off the court make the Williams sisters the greatest of our generation.
“VENUS AND SERENA takes an unfiltered look into the remarkable lives of the greatest sister-act professional tennis has ever seen. In a sport where they were not welcomed, the indomitable Williams sisters faced the opposition with grace and courage not only breaking new ground for female and African American athletes everywhere, but dominating the women’s game for over a decade. The film tells the inspiring story of how these two women, against all odds, but with the help of visionary parents, made it to the top. VENUS AND SERENA also explores the struggle of these two aging superstars during the 2011 tennis season as they battle life and career-threatening health problems. In Venus and Serena we gain unprecedented access into the sisters’ lives – both in the spotlight and behind closed doors – and we watch as they draw their greatest strengths from one another to overcome countless adversities.” – Avalon Theatre
For ticket purchases visit: www.theavalon.org