“Queen of Katwe” stars David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, Madina Nalwanga, and Martin Kabanza. Released on September 23, 2016, the film chronicles the life of a young Ugandan woman who dreams of being a master at chess.
The film is directed by Mira Nair, who also directed films such as The Perez Family, Monsoon Wedding, Vanity Fair, Amelia, and Words with Gods. It is based on the 2012 book of the same name by Tim Crothers. Aside from making huge box office hits that involve animation, superheroes, and a galaxy far, far away, Disney is also known for making inspirational sports dramas. Sure, they’re not big money-makers, but they do manage to win the hearts of critics and audiences alike. This latest addition to that collection is based on the life of Phiona Mutesi, a woman from Katwe who is introduced to a game of chess. As usual, I am always in a mood for films that’ll leave people inspired, especially the ones that are made from Disney. So how does this one stack up compared to the other Disney sports biopics?
The performances were remarkable. Oyelowo gives out one of the most likable performances of his career as Robert Katende. Nyong’o and Nalwanga were really talented as Nakku Harriet and Phiona, respectively.
The Ugandan culture was portrayed wonderfully.
Its themes were executed properly.
Mira Nair’s direction.
The story had some typical sports biopic tropes.
The pacing’s slow at some parts, but the rest moves at a steady pace.
Final thoughts: “Queen of Katwe” is a suitable addition to Disney’s series of biographical sports dramas thanks to some smart performances, heartwarming themes and its portrayal of Uganda. While the story is nothing special due to its cliches and slow pacing, it does have the right moves to warrant a recommendation to those who are into inspirational films. I would even say that the film deserves a checkmate.