Pride. Perseverance. Strategy. Hope. All themes present in Disney’s “Queen of Katwe” and all things I felt while watching the movie.
*“Queen of Katwe” is out today in a limited amount of theaters & will have a full theater release Sept. 30.*
By LaTria Garnigan
The film, directed by Mira Nair (“Mississippi Masala”) and based on the book and ESPN article by Tim Crothers, chronicles the life of Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga). A young girl living in the village of Katwe. A sudden interest in the game of chess opens up a world that Phiona could not have imagined and introduced her coach Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) to a vibrant young student with an endless amount of skill and potential.
Her mother Nakku Harriet (Lupita Nyong’o) struggles at first with the newness of everything, but becomes Phiona’s biggest cheerleader.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been so inspired by a film. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time rooting for not only Phiona’s character, but for her siblings and peers as well. Everyone in this movie is a joy to watch.
The events of “Queen of Katwe” only took place less than 10 years ago, and to see the kind of poverty they were living in, yet the hope and eagerness of the children was mind-blowing. Their surroundings didn’t matter when the chess board was in front of them. And it’s a true testament to one’s faith and determination.
This film is ripe with nuggets of wisdom, but towards the end when Oyelowo’s character says to Phiona, “You belong here,” it brought everything home.
You’ll be drawn in by the different emotions on newcomer Madina’s face throughout the film. If she’s happy, you’re happy. If she’s scared, you’re scared. If she’s determined, you’re determined. And to get such range from a novice actress is brilliant.
Do yourself a favor, if you know a little girl, buy her a movie ticket. Take your family. Go see this with friends. This film should be a must-watch in every school in the country. I’ve been inspired and transformed for the better having gotten to know a little more about Phiona Mutesi’s life.