Film review: Queen of Katwe (4 out of 5)

Queen of Katwe
Queen of Katwe

The idea of watching a Disney movie about playing people chess doesn’t sound the most appealing idea, however keen a film-goer you might be.

But Queen of Katwe is a remarkable true story told in a very un-Hollywood way.

Set in Uganda only a handful of years ago, we are introduced to Phiona Mutesi, a young girl who, with her family, is struggling to live day to day selling maize in the streets of Katwe.

Their home is in the more rundown area where not having the money for rent means you are quickly evicted.

One day Phiona is introduced to a chess club, run by Robert Katende, a man who cares about the ghetto children.

And to everyone’s surprise she is a prodigy, able to beat all-comers.

It’s then a question of trying to get Phiona and her fellow players to play chess against schools and in major tournaments, despite the prejudice against their poor background.

Madina Nalwanga is superb as Phiona and English actor David Oyelowo brings his excellence to the role of Robert.

But the whole ensemble back them up to create a heart-warming story.

Director Mira Nair pulls all the elements together to create a movie that presents a great story without being too blunt and obvious.

Life is tough for many in the ghetto, but we realise this through watching people at work and there’s a great scene when the children at a tournament get a glimpse of how the other half live.

Stick around at the end to see the actors with the actual people they play.

Overall, a film that has plenty of humour that will fill you with joy.

Film details: Queen of Katwe (PG) 124mins

Director: Mira Nair

Starring: Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol