Director Mira Nair returns to the festival with this heart warming tale of an extraordinarily talented Ugandan girl whose life gets transformed after she realizes she has a gift for chess. Based on true story, Queen of Katwe stars David Oyelowo (Selma), Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.
10-year-old Phiona Mutesi (Nalwanga) struggles to help her mother Harriet (Nyong’o) sell vegetables and only sees a future of destitution. When a missionary and injured ex-soccer player Robert (Oyelowo) begins teaching the local Katwe kids how to play chess, Phiona becomes obsessed with the game and shows an instant attraction to the game.
Robert sees the raw talent Phiona has for the game and takes it upon himself to help improve her game. Harriet worries that Phiona is only going to be met with heart-break. As Phiona gets better she realizes that her talents can possibly help her family find a better life.
This uplifting film is a beautiful glimpse into the life of a talented and driven girl who has inspired her impoverished community. She becomes a symbol of the potential a child has with enough determination, knowledge and support.
Mira Nair does a breathtaking job bringing this story to the screen with the help of an incredibly talented cast. Nyong’o does a wonderful job at portraying a struggling single mother who has lost a child and husband and fears the loss of another. She’s the perfect lioness to her children protecting them as much as she can to prevent them from hurting the way she does. Along with Oyelowo portraying the perfect mentor who has gone through his fair share of hard-ship before becoming a well educated missionary.
There are very little films that make you feel a wide range of emotions, from an overwhelming sense of joy, to complete heart ache. Queen of Katwe is a roller coaster of a film that proves that one young girl can provide inspiration and hope to everyone.
5 out of 5 Stars