Queen of Katwe (2016)

PG   |    |  Biography, Drama, Sport


Queen of Katwe (2016) Poster

A Ugandan girl sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of chess.


7.4/10
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  • David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong'o at an event for Queen of Katwe (2016)
  • Queen of Katwe (2016)
  • Robert Katende at an event for Queen of Katwe (2016)
  • David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong'o at an event for Queen of Katwe (2016)
  • Mira Nair and Phiona Mutesi at an event for Queen of Katwe (2016)
  • Queen of Katwe (2016)

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15 October 2016 | lee_eisenberg
8
| chess for the win
Mira Nair previously focused on Uganda in 1991's "Mississippi Masala" (about an Indian family forced into exile by Idi Amin). "Queen of Katwe" is the true story of Phiona Mutesi, who started playing chess to get out of Kampala's slums. Katwe is the sort of place where you have to bribe people to do even minimal tasks. Lupita Nyong'o plays Phiona's mother, the sort of person who knows the slums all too well and isn't thrilled with her daughter's goal.

One of the most effective scenes is when the Katwe children compete against the students of King's College: the Katwe children wear the traditional Ugandan attire while the rich children wear western clothes, showing the disconnect between the social classes (a scene towards the end of "Mississippi Masala" showed something similar: when the father returns to Uganda, he looks westernized while the Ugandans wear the traditional clothes).

Admittedly, I don't know how accurate the movie is, especially since I had never heard of the story before the movie's release. Nonetheless, it's a powerful, uplifting story. The people involved in this movie deserve ample recognition for their contributions, and I hope that it draws more attention to Phiona Mutesi's achievements.

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