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Miami International Film Festival Review: Venus And Serena

The end of the Miami International Film Festival was celebrated with Awards Night and a showing of the documentary “Venus and Serena.” The film, created by Maiken Baird and Michelle Major, shows the lives of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams during the roughest year of their collective careers.

The film highlights their health battles–Venus’ diagnosis of Sjogren’s Syndrome and Serena’s battle with blood clots–as well as how the two began their careers as children. What I liked about the film was how it did show the sisters’ initial talent, their father Richard’s intense foresight and the racism the two faced as they advanced in their careers. It was especially horrifying to see a grown woman act like a spiteful child around Venus on the court. If that’s how low you get around a 17-year-old child who happens to be more talented than you, then that says nothing good about you as a person at that particular point in your life. Incidentally, this documentary is great if only to put a big spotlight on the wrong and racist behaviors of others in the tennis world.

However, the one thing I didn’t like about the film was the editing. The title cards and captions just interfered with the documentary itself. At worst, the titles looked cheap and didn’t serve the story. If the titles and captions weren’t there, the film would have been a much smoother watch.

On the whole, anything showcasing Venus and Serena’s talents is tremendous. But, I think a little more work could have done the film a great service.

You can judge for yourself when “Venus and Serena” comes to VOD April 4 and theaters May 10.

venus and serena

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Monique Jones blogs about race and culture in entertainment, particularly movies and television. You can read her articles at Racialicious, and her new site, COLOR . You can also listen to her new podcast, What would Monique Say.

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