Venus & Serena is a 2012 documentary film on DVD that takes and inside look at Venus Williams and Serena Williams lives and careers.
“Arguably the greatest story of modern sports.” USA Today
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 breaking new ground for female and African American athletes everywhere.
Venus and Serena Documentary Review
"Now that Venus and Serena Williams have dominated tennis for so long their presence seems to be a given, it is easy to forget just how revolutionary their arrival on the tennis scene was and how compelling their story is. An all-access documentary on the two legends is long overdue.
Depending on how you look at it, directors Maiken Baird and Michelle Major were either incredibly lucky or unlucky to have chronicled the Williams sisters during the 2011 tennis season…an injury-ridden season that saw the two spend little time on the court. Though these injuries robbed Baird and Major of the inherent drama that would have come with watching one or both of the sisters pursuing tournament victories and adding to their Grand Slam counts, the directors were left with a very different type of story.
As we see in the film, the lives of the Williams sisters have been consumed by tennis since childhood, and for the first time in their lives the two are left unable to do what they love. Thus, instead of watching the sisters prepare for and compete in tournaments, we see the Williams sisters living their lives, revealing more about who they are than tennis fans have been able to glean from watching the two on the court. Who the sisters are is a fascinating subject. The story of Venus and Serena's upbringing is oft told: two sisters from Los Angeles's Compton neighborhood are pushed into tennis by their aspirational but demanding father and groomed for greatness. Though many laughed at Mr. Williams's dream, they fulfilled his prophecy of each becoming the top-ranked player in the world.
Venus and Serena tells this obligatory tale, but what is far more interesting are the scenes of the sisters, particularly Serena, attempting to occupy themselves as they cope with injuries. Unlike injuries sustained earlier in the sisters' careers, these injuries took a far greater toll on the two, both of whom are likely approaching the end of their dominance of the sport due to age. Both of the sisters—Serena in particular—seem to be struggling not only with occupying themselves, but in the realization that they will soon have to figure out who they are in their post-tennis lives. The film includes interviews and voiceovers with some big names, including President Bill Clinton, Anna Wintour, and Gay Talese. Though these are impressive gets for any filmmaker and it's interesting to see who count themselves as fans of Venus and Serena, these interviews offer little insight.
Venus and Serena is a well-crafted documentary with the type of fascinating moments that can only come from close and extended access to its subjects. Though the injuries the Williams sisters battled through 2011 robbed the filmmakers of the chance to chronicle the sisters on the tennis courts, the greater access that came with the injuries allowed the filmmakers to reveal the sisters' personalities in a new and compelling way." DVD Verdict
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