This beautiful and inspiring, real-life story of a young girl’s journey from poverty to empowered… is through opportunities brought to her through the amazing game of chess.
My eldest daughter and I were able to see a preview of this film last week. We had just been talking about the game of chess in our home, and the absolute power this board game can encourage. Chess is a game of strategy, creative thinking, problem solving and innovation. Queen of Katwe is a bright, bold and beautiful film that showcases what a power the mind can be when given the opportunity.
9-year-old Phiona Mutesi lives inone of the most poverty-stricken areas in Kampala, inside Uganda. I have no idea what no option for school is like, but this young lady certainly did. Phiona is played by newcomer, Madina Nalwanga. What an amazing job this young lady did, portraying the real-life Phiona. The brilliant, Lupita Wyong’o (Oscar© winner 12 Years A Slave) plays her very hard working and strong mother, Harriet. The relationship between these two on screen in so incredibly beautiful.
Harriet works very hard for her poverty stricken family, as two of her children sell vegetables on the side of the road daily to help keep a roof over their head. A man named Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) comes into their lives and introduces this young girl, and many other kids in this village, to the game of chess. Robert is a soccer coach for Sports Outreach, a faith-based organization that uses sports to make a difference in the lives of at-risk youth.
Phiona picks up on it quickly and shows more promise than anyone Robert had ever seen. The gift of opportunity is what changes everything for this young lady and her family. Opportunity. This game helped her see that the “small one can become the big one.” The success of this game for her, doesn’t come without obstacles, prejudice and fear. But that is the brilliance of this true to life story….the human spirit can triumph over anything.
The crew of this film really showcased the bright in the dark, with literal colors and the character in what could be, such a dark place in our world. Director, Mira Nair, does a brilliant job of even touching on some difficult topics, in a very admirable way. My 11-year old daughter and I walked away from this film completely humbled and inspired. We had a lot to talk about in the car…and a lot to laugh about too. (Do yourself a favor and stay for the end credits…you won’t regret it)
Queen of Katwe opens in limited release on September 23rd and wide release on September 30th!