The slums of Katwe in Kampala, forms the backdrop of the biography of Phiona Mutesi, enacted by Madina Nalwanga. Meera Nair through her, ‘Queen of Katwe’ shows a new side of Africa. Beating all odds, Mutesi becomes the first female chess champion from Uganda. She teaches us how to do big things from small places.
The story circles around her family’s poverty, her step by step success, and her coach’s blind belief in her talent. The movie gives an inner meaning to the game of pieces, teaching how to solve problems when life gives a checkmate on you.
Mira Nair’s inspiring movie while watching reminds of ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ (2002) where the daughter of an orthodox Sikh rebels against her parents’ traditional thoughts and joins a football team to pursue her dream.
The movie not only shows how the game is played but depicts the lives of the people depending on it, their hardships and struggles to make both ends meet. The movie simultaneously instills a feeling of indifference as well energizes the inner spirit to live and work for your dreams.
The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve themEllen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and President of Liberia
“Momma said we can’t break our bones as we don’t have the money for a doctor, so we can’t play football,” tells a kid to coach Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) when asked why they chose chess over a global game like football.
David Oyelowo grabs attention as he inspires his children to play and withstand the prejudice of the rich bags. All the children including the protagonist of the movie have taken up their rolls well.
Though the movie seems quite predictable, some dialogues and scenes of the movie stay glued to your minds forever.
Lupita Nyong has carried her character very well in the movie, battling between the family’s poverty and her daughter’s steadfast dream. Her character clearly describes the despair, helpless condition of a mother who is forced to make her children sell maize to support the drowning family.
Like chess being a game of suspense and less of thrill, the movie takes a very predictable course, flaunted well with its dialogues and scenic beauty. Nair, bringing in chess has tried to teach life through the simple but clever game, linking in the story of the successful underprivileged.