The newly released Williams film is a documentary following Frank Williams and his infamous Formula 1 team. This film has major appeal for Formula 1 fans and petrol heads but is not just a documentary on fast cars and Frank Williams. It also shows the story of his family and the sacrifices made by his wife to support him at the start of his F1 team ownership and following his crash that left him paralysed.
What really strikes me from this film is Franks passion for motorsport and how that is what drives him to this day. What many fans and outside world will not be aware of is how obsessed he is and that life following his crash did not alter his drive and determination to create the best team and car in F1.
His wife Ginny who has now sadly died is a real focus in this film. Although Frank is the figurehead of the team before and after his crash the strength of his wife to help him recover and survive is not well known. Equally her ability to stick with him through incredibly tough circumstances and keep the team going is great to see. It is great to see this film give Ginny the recognition she deserves.
The interviews with drivers, Frank and Patrick give a lovely insight to Frank’s mind and passion for the sport, but the stand out and emotional moments of this film are driven by Claire Williams and her interactions with her dad.
The raw emotions displayed when reading a section of her mums book to Frank is heart wrenching knowing he has not read it and seems reluctant to. With Claire in tears you can sense the emotions in Frank but he holds it together and keeps that mentality of looking forward and having a British stiff upper lip.
Also hearing how he no longer returns home following the death of Ginny and choosing to sleep at work gives insight into his focus on the team but also the internal emotions that have led him to not want to return to the house he shared with his wife. The documentary beautifully illustrates the conflict, distress, upset and passion of the family for the team and each other.
I came into the film a Williams F1 fan but left with a deeper passion for the organisation. Unlike other teams this is truly a family run organisation and you can feel the passion, sacrifices, conflicts and successes they have experienced that has given me a sense of real attachment to the team. I don’t want it to succeed just as a fan. I want the team to succeed due to Frank, Claire, Ginny and the whole family’s investment in the team. Seeing this team rising to the top again, giving Frank the opportunity to see his cars winning or Claire’s achievement to make her parents proud would be amazing to see. Having met Claire at the Williams fan day at Silverstone she really is a fantastic choice to lead the team in the future. She is incredibly kind but has that unbreakable determination of her dad.
I give this film 5 stars. Unlike most documentarys that have a strict narrative of how you should feel, this film allows the viewer to see the pros and cons of Frank’s obsession whilst bringing focus to his family and the effect it had on them. There are moments of joy, laughter and sadness in the film. It is a real rare film that had me smiling from ear to ear and then nearly in tears minutes later but such was the strength of the storytelling I experienced an incredible mix of emotions.
I just want to end this review with a big thank you to the Williams family for the insight into their lives and the makers of the film for telling the story so well.