A by-the-numbers family friendly film by a director capable of so much more. This is the kind of 'feel good' picture made by committee not a maverick like Nair once was (Salaam Bombay, Kama Sutra, Mississippi Masala). Performances by newcomer Madina Nalwanga and David Oyelowo are quite good.
A touching film of a 10 year old Phiona (Madina Malwanga) from Kampala who's an extraordinary chess player imagining eight moves ahead. Her coach Katende, David Oyelowo gives us a terrific performance and there's a spirited power emanating from her mother Lupita Nyong'o. Mira Nair's film portrays the reality of living in one of the world's worst crime ridden slums, where you'll be robbed and suffer many illnesses.
Though conventional and cliche, this vibrantly shot film hits all the right marks for a truly emotional film experience. Nalwanga is unforgettable as the soft spoken Phiona, whose tenacity is perfectly measured and politely surrendered until revealed in a match. 81/100 - Great.
The kind of inspiring, uplifting film we need now more than ever, and one that never loses sight of its characters nor their struggles. Frequently moving, a little long, but a strong display of character acting. Those who demanded a film like this now need to step forward and buy a ticket.
It's a shame that a studio film without any white characters has the fingerprints of white studio executives and producers all over it. Queen of Katwe has some compelling moments, but is ultimately too long, too safe, and too conventional to be worth anyone's time.