Williams
Year:
2017
Country:
UK
Genre:
Biography, Sport, Documentary
IMDB rating:
8.0
Director:
Morgan Matthews
Jenny Funnell as Pamela
Emily Bevan as Lady Virginia Williams
Storyline: Charting the story of Formula One's most celebrated family, Williams is a thrilling account of how one man built a racing empire and a vivid, heart-rending portrait of the aftermath of a tragedy. Starting life with nothing other than a single-minded obsession for speed, Sir Frank Williams created one of the world's most enduring Formula One racing teams, winning nine Constructors' Championships over the last 40 years. But in 1986 at the height of this success, a near fatal car accident left Frank fighting to survive and the team's future hanging in the balance. Williams, a brand-new documentary from BAFTA-wining director Morgan Matthews, tells the story of Frank's rise to fame and how his family battled to keep him alive and the team afloat after the crash that left Frank wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. Featuring heart-pounding racing footage, interviews with much-loved Formula One stars (including Sir Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell, Alan Jones and Sir Patrick Head) and ...
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Reviews
Powerful moving film of an F1 family dynasty
Having watched several documentaries over the years on legends of motor sport. Graham Hill Jackie Stewart Jim Clarke and now Sir Frank Williams. They all strike me as extremely driven determined and selfish individuals who put there need to increase the speed of their cars above all else and in Frank Williams most of all his family. They always came second to his F1 team. Despite having a remarkable wife who stuck by him despite numerous affairs and a near fatal accident that left him severely paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. In this insightful documentary we learn much about this remarkable man who took a struggling team on the point of bankruptcy to a multi million pound business winning several world titles along the way. We also learn much about his daughter Claire who herself has had difficult family decisions to make in her quest to become the most powerful woman in the male dominated world of Formula one. 9/10
2017-11-28
A great, to the point, documentary
Frank Williams' life will probably be made into a movie someday. The struggles, the drama, the love of racing and the sheer drive for success, do make great ingredients for a movie. But this one is a -straight to the point- documentary. And a great one in my opinion.

Most people don't have the time, or simply don't care, for anything else than the image and the results. The statistics, the pure numbers and the balance. This film delves deep into Williams Racing, which frankly is the same as the Williams family and the few close friends of theirs.

It is clear that the documentary is not intended for the uninitiated in the racing culture and especially Formula 1. You will have to known faces and situations to get the full from the information and images you are seeing. And that may make it difficult for some to follow the swing from present to past to present again. But in return you get to see the people like they are, without evasions, and feel the story unfold before your eyes, like it is being written now.

In conclusion i think this film is less biased than the Senna documentary, better structured than the McLaren one, which seemed a little bit shallow in places, and would definitely recommend it to petrol-heads and F1 enthusiasts.
2017-08-17
For Williams fans not so sure about F1 fans
Am not sure what to make of this experience, there were times when I felt too close to emotional ripples to the point of voyeurism perhaps. Have followed the team since Damon Hill joined but have struggled to like the man after how Damon was treated in his championship year. Here is revealed more of the man you always suspected lies there running the ship like an obsessive who lets nothing stand in his way. Not even business disasters not to mention fatal accidents in his team's cars. Who could survive let alone prosper when they have been hit by so much so often as we see here. But he has not been the only one to pay the price of membership of the "piranha club"; his family deserve medals and more for their considerable tolerance and sacrifice to feed the machine. Whether this is a biopic of Sir Frank or the team that bears his name I was not entirely clear, maybe that was deliberate, you will have to make your own mind up. Personally if this is what it takes to touch the top in F1 then leave me and mine out of it. 32 holidays in the same place without your father... well, it says it all really. Call it driven or call it selfish you have to ask if the price of fame is worth it. One last note to the film-makers - I would warn would-be viewers to be alert to the tragedies of multiple accidents some of which were clearly fatal and are in my mind horrific adding nothing to the intent of the film. It is a thin line between sensationalist and essential in some minds. Do we really need to be shown these terrible accidents? I think not. Let us remember them full of life not as blazing corpses.
2017-11-25
Simply an amazing film
It is rare that a film leaves me feeling as this one did. It was moving, touching, honest and a bit haunting. More than anything, however, I want to stress the honor that I felt in being allowed to share in such an unbelievably intimate portrait of a family that has climbed a mountain and found another behind it.

It is a story off a man's consuming passion for a sport that would eventually lead him to the absolute pinnacle at the same moment that his life was tragically turned inside out by an accident caused by the very thing he loved, speed. More than that, however, it is a story of the grace of two women, his wife, Virginia and his daughter, Claire. While there are countless interviews with some of the greatest names in Formula 1, it is Virginia and Claire that truly steal the show and I was simply left in a bit of awe of them both.
2017-08-19
A riveting story with a powerful emotional core
Although it may not look like it from the outside, the Williams F1 team is deeply intertwined with the Williams family history, and that's what this documentary does so well. Bringing to life two fascinating sides of the story of the family, it's a riveting and powerfully emotional story that holds your interest from start to finish. It may occasionally get a little muddled when trying to pick a side to focus on, and is possibly a little inaccessible for non-F1 fans, but it's still a fascinating watch throughout.

Now, I'm a big F1 fan. My favourite documentary of all time (and the highest rated film of all on this website) is Senna, a beautiful, elegant and thrilling tale of one of the sport's greatest drivers. Although I can't say that I found the same thrills in Williams as I did in Senna, I have to say that there is a lot about it that bears a likeness, particularly when it comes to the all-important topic of a thirst for competition in motor racing.

The film is a piece about the Williams family, but there's no doubt that Sir Frank, the man who started the team, is the centre. Although he was never a driver, one of the most powerful messages that this documentary brings across is just how determined he was as a competitor, in whatever capacity. Through some incredibly difficult times over his years in F1, Frank's determination and obsession with the sport is so similar to the emotions that dominate Senna, and that's what sets up such an enthralling and emotionally affecting watch.

I do worry that viewers who don't have the same fervour for motor racing may not be able to relate to the film as much, because there is so much focus on Frank Williams' unstoppable obsession despite all the dangers of motor racing, but if you are an F1 fan, or indeed a fan of pure competition, then it's very clear to understand how strongly the man has felt about the sport all his life.

However, the entire film isn't all about Sir Frank Williams. There's a sprinkling of on-track action throughout, delving into the rivalry between Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell in 1986, when the Williams family was at their most difficult moment, but the true focus of the film is how the family itself played a role in shaping the team that has endured very strongly up to the present day.

As a result, the film's three major players are Frank, his wife Ginny, and his daughter Claire. Alongside Frank's racing obsession, we get an enthralling insight into the woman who was always at his side, and the core of the film's emotion really comes from contrasting the thrill that Frank got from being in Formula One to the difficulties that it often caused for his wife.

It's not a story that in any way criticises either party, but it highlights the fates of the people who aren't always at the forefront, and how much of an emotional drain such an intense profession can be on their personal lives, something that I found absolutely riveting.

Furthermore, Frank's daughter Claire offers a very effective and relatable position for you as the viewer. Much of the film focuses on the fact that Frank is a very emotionally introverted character, something that also contributed to a degree of stress in the family, but with the insights from Claire, someone who is both prominent in F1 nowadays, but also has the benefit of being so close to Frank Williams, you get a very clear and collected insight to the whole family saga, and it's her descriptions, along with a collection of fascinating tapes from Ginny Williams, that give the film such a powerful emotional effect.

On the whole, this is an excellent documentary, but it's not without a couple of small flaws. For one, its first act struggles to really tie all of the aspects of the story together well, jumping back and forth a little too much between the three main players, Frank, Ginny and Claire, as well as trying a little too hard to assure you that there will be some racing cars in the movie too. For me, I would have been perfectly happy to see a slightly calmer introduction to the story that focused on the family heritage, and brought in the wider F1 context a little later on.

Overall, however, I was absolutely enthralled by Williams. An excellent documentary that looks at a wide range of stories around the Formula One paddock centring around the Williams family, it will have you absolutely riveted from start to finish, and even tug at your heartstrings, such is the emotional power of the family's story.
2017-08-05
Moving Documentary About a Motor Racing Legend
This is a moving and sympathetic film about an F1 great, his team, and family. Memorable and enjoyable for anyone to watch, essential viewing for petrolheads. It documents Frank's family, obsession, racing team, and devastating accident, but more than this, the power of Ginny, his late wife, a rock in the wings. A touching and powerful documentary.
2017-08-04
A must see for every Formula 1 fan!
Definitely one of the best documentaries I've seen in a while. As a big fan of Formula 1 i couldn't wait to see this one since I realised that I actually don't know much about Frank Williams' life. And what a life this man had. From being obsessed with racing as a young man he did everything in his power to get to the top and it wasn't an easy way. He overcame many struggles which is truly inspirational.

This film goes quite deep to show us the relationships between the Williams family members. It carries quite an emotional punch but without ever being overly sentimental.

If you are a true Formula 1 fan you will definitely enjoy this and if you are not you will enjoy it as well since the story of Frank Williams can inspire people from all walks of life.
2017-08-30
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