Movie review by Andrea Karen Hammer
Based on the true story about a young Ugandan girl’s gift for playing chess, Queen of Katwe is a Disney film that will inspire viewers of all ages.
Like Director Mira Nair’s films about India including The Namesake, the streets of Uganda are teeming with life. At every turn, young children are part of the constant activity and motion. They sell food carried in baskets on their heads and aggressively solicit buyers to help support their families in need.
Mother’s Indomitable Spirit Ultimately Empowers Daughter to Overcome Hardship
From the outset, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakku Harriet makes it forcefully clear that she will nonetheless keep her children on the straight and narrow. With a signature “don’t mess with me” attitude conveyed through physical strength, she gets in the face of a young man interested in her daughter, telling him never to “sniff” around their home again. When she learns that her children are playing chess, the angry mother physically hauls them away by the collar, one of many scenes revealing the indomitable spirit enlivened through the talents of actress Lupita Nyong’o.
Discipline-Instilling Chess Coach Balances Compassion With Tough-Mindedness
As her daughter’s chess coach Robert Katende, the marvelous David Oyelowo takes a more understated but equally powerful “won’t take no for an answer” approach. The actor’s portrayal of this understanding yet discipline-instilling role model is one to remember for the books. With compassion that he balances with tough-mindedness, David Oyelowo as Robert Katende is central to the story’s power, particularly when encouraging Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga) with stories about his own hardships.
Young Chess Champion Experiences Dejection in Defeat and Joy in Victory During Global Travels
Madina Nalwanga visibly shows the conflicting emotions of Phiona Mutesi as she struggles to find her way out of a difficult situation. From dejection in defeat to joy in victory, the actress convincingly portrays the remarkable experiences of this young chess champion who travels the world.
As the ultimate example of finding solutions despite the most unfavorable circumstances, Queen of Katwe is a heartening reminder about the power of personal strength, get-back-up persistence and fierce determination.