A 10-year-old girl from Uganda is inspired to become a chess champion by a selfless coach. Mira Nair’s film is based on the real-life story of Phiona Mutesi.
This is a strong and inspiring movie. Its positive themes of empathy, humility, integrity and perseverance are well portrayed.
Madina Nalwanga gives a radiant performance as Phiona Mutesi in her film debut. The young girl from the slums of Katwe lives with her mother Nakku Harriet (Lupita Nyong’o), older sister Night (Taryn Kyaze) and younger brothers Brian (Martin Kabanza) and Richard (Ivan Jacobo).
She sells corn on the streets to help make ends meet. Her mother worries about shelter and schooling costs.
When a shy Phiona meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), a former do-gooder who has returned to his native Uganda to coach chess, she finds an unexpected mentor and an uncanny talent for the game. Suddenly she is a chess champion.
But despite its happy-go-lucky premise, Queen of Katwe is a family drama with a social message. The slums of Kampala, Uganda, are the backdrop for most of this story, and director Mira Nair has an eye for framing and composition throughout the movie.
David Oyelowo is a Golden Globe-nominated actor who has worked in films like Selma (2014) where he portrayed Martin Luther King Jr., and A United Kingdom (2016) where he played the king of Botswana. He has also worked in television shows like Spooks and Nightingale.
His latest role is playing Robert Katende in Disney’s Queen of Katwe Movies Reviews. It’s a heart-warming bio-drama that follows a young girl from Uganda who goes from being a street kid to becoming their country’s chess champion.
In the film, Oyelowo brings a strong performance that is not only earnest but also heart-warming. He is able to show both kindness and discipline as he plays Katende, a missionary who recognizes Phiona’s talents and teaches her the game of chess.
Director Mira Nair does a great job in bringing out the true story of a girl’s journey to success and how her journey changed her family. While the film is not without its faults, it’s an uplifting movie that will appeal to audiences of all ages.
Lupita Nyong’o is back on the big screen in her first live-action role since 12 Years a Slave. She plays Phiona Mutesi’s mother, Nakku Harriet.
This movie is a refreshing change from the usual Hollywood depictions of Africa that often include war, dictatorships and famine. Director Mira Nair makes a very sincere dramatization of the story of a 10-year-old chess prodigy who rises from poverty to become an international chess champion.
Newcomer Madina Nalwanga stars as Phiona Mutesi, who grows up in Katwe, a shanty town outside of Kampala. She sells corn on the streets to support her family, but when local coach Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) notices her talent in chess, he mentors her and helps her achieve her dream of becoming a Grand Master.
With a stellar cast led by Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo, Queen of Katwe is a feel-good film that should appeal to both young and old audiences. It’s based on the Tim Crothers book of the same name, and it’s a worthy adaptation of a story that deserves to be told.
Mira Nair is an Indian-born director who has a distinctive style that crosses the lines between documentary and feature film. She made her debut as a documentary filmmaker before transitioning into narrative films, winning the Camera D’Or and being nominated for an Academy Award for her first feature Salaam Bombay!
Her work has earned her accolades, both in India and around the world. She has directed numerous documentaries, including So Far From India and India Cabaret, as well as several feature films such as Mississippi Masala (1991), The Perez Family (1996), Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996), Vanity Fair (2004), and The Namesake (2006).
Nair’s newest film, Queen of Katwe, is based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi, an aspiring chess master in Uganda who overcame poverty and a difficult childhood to become a grandmaster. It stars Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo and Madina Nalwanga.