Saturday, September 17, 2016

Disney's Queen of Katwe - A Smart, Inspiring and Heartfelt Film

Queen of Katwe is the heartwarming and inspirational story of Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) Mutesi, a young girl in Uganda who becomes a very unlikely chess prodigy. Based on a true story, you get an amazing powerful film about real people facing real problems. You get our young hero who is looking for a way out, a single mother trying to keep her family together and a coach who seeks his own personal redemption.

We begin by seeing Phiona about to win the national championship for chess and then we skip back in time to see where she started. Growing up in extreme poverty in the slum of Katwe, Phiona discovers the game of chess from Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), a missionary and soccer player who has set up a chess club.

Robert quickly recognizes Phiona's natural skills to play chess and mentors her. Meanwhile Phiona's mother Harriet (Lupia Nyong'o), who sells vegetables to take care of Phiona and her two brothers, is worried that Robert's interest in Phiona is to good to be true. She is worried that as Phiona gets to see more of the world, the less she will want to stay in Katwe.

The true strength of this film is in it's actors. Newcomer Nalwanga is a natural, bringing an amazing spirit to the character ass she learns more and more herself and her abilities. We watch Phiona grow into an empowered young woman who knows that there is more for her and she will go out and get it. Oyelowo continues to establish himself as one of Hollywood's strongest leading men showcasing the strength of Robert in terms of emotion and conviction. Nyong'o brings another amazing performance to a mother who goes above and beyond for her family with little regard for herself.

A wonderful movie that will grow in it's popularity over the years. Powerful performances and newcomer Nalwanga is a welcomed breath of fresh air to the acting scene. A thoughtful and heartfelt film that is one of the best sports movies from Disney yet. Always wonderful to see a film about a smart woman at the top of her game. Queen of Katwe opens in theaters September 23rd, 2016.

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