Queen of Katwe
A Ugandan girl see's her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of Chess.
Much Ado About Spoilers:
Okay, I have to moan about Lupita Nyong'o being cast as the Mother (Nakku Harriet). Super eye roll. So, I looked up the ages and Lupita is 35 and I could not believe that, as she looks about 18.
The actor who plays her daughter Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) is 16 years old and they look like sisters. It's so Hollywood, next thing you know Lupita will be the grandmother.
Anyway, Phiona Mutesi is the star of the film, all attention and focus is on this 16 year old to perform and she does a great job. Her character is charming and David Oyelowo plays her Chess coach, (Robert Katende), bonus.
Robert teaches Phiona and her brothers how to play Chess and she beats a few of the local boys, who are not impressed. Interestingly, Harriet couldn't allow the children to play any sports because of potential hospital bills.
Robert tells Phiona, in his wisdom that "sometimes the place you are used to, is not the place you belong."
Very apt words as the family live in a Ghetto and it is a thoroughly miserable place. It is displayed exactly as it is by the Director, Mira Nair, who did not want a Hollywood sheen to blot out the squalidness. She achieved that, as it's hard to watch some of the goings on in their village.
Robert eventually realises that Phiona is a prodigy, a natural born Chess player, when she starts to beat him. And, he decides to enter her in Africa's International Children's Chess Tournament in 2009.
So, melodrama and Chess fans unite and take over. A mild taste of "Cool Runnings" (underdogs beat the snide elite) at the tournament as other players glare and say mean things to put Phiona off. But she is steadfast and eventually starts to beat them, much to their surprise.
And SHE WINS!! Phiona wins the Chess Tournament along with two of the Katwe boys, Ivan and Benjamin. Uganda climbs to the top of the Tournament list as the winners are called.
The press ask Phiona if she was happy to win and she smiled saying "She felt like a Queen!"
This is an unassuming film with a big impact. I could not stop watching the Chess Tournament and stayed to watch the credits.
Queen of Katwe made a mere $10.3mil at the Worldwide Box Office