During my #QueenofKatweEvent this past week I was given the chance to see the movie, Queen of Katwe, twice in two days. I would gladly watch it again this weekend when its released. I loved it! Its the perfect feel good movie to take you children to. I love chess and when I found out what this movie was about I knew I was going to love it. I even bought the book to go in depth in their lives.
“Queen of Katwe” is the colorful true story of a young girl selling corn on the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion. Directed by Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding”) from a screenplay by William Wheeler (“The Hoax”) based on the book by Tim Crothers, “Queen of Katwe” is produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher (“The Darjeeling Limited”) and John Carls (“Where the Wild Things Are”) with Will Weiske and Troy Buder serving as executive producers. The film stars Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo (“Selma”), Oscar® winner and Tony Award® nominee Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”) and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.
I was told multiple times by some of the ladies that had seen it before during a previous Disney trip that I was going to cry. I know Disney is famous for tears so I went in prepared. There were some scenes that my anxiety was through the roof on. I won’t spoil anything but bring tissues. There will be tears. Happy ones and sad ones. Its amazing to me that this movie is based on the real life Phiona Mutesi. We got to meet her and the real Robert Katende. And most of the cast are from the same area in Katwe. To see the struggles she has faced, that all of them face is heart wrenching. And to know that even after the book and the movie many of the actors will go back to that life. The life where something as simple as rain can destroy everything you have worked your life for. Where walking miles everyday just to sell corn is the norm just to be able to feed your family. The actors in this movie were amazing especially considering that many of them had never acted before or if they had it was very small parts. Madine Nalwanga is a newcomer and she portrayed Phiona so perfectly. And Lupita Nyong’o soared as her mom Harriet. She has this thousand yard stare that just blows you away because you know that she is such a strong woman and is wonderful in the role of Harriet.
Sometimes in life we dont get the outcome we expect. In the movie Phiona gets cocky and finds out what it is like to lose. She gets discouraged. Life changes for her greatly when she starts to win so losing was a heavy blow. We all have to face that in life and she starts to try again. That is what the movie teaches. There is always hope. “What matters is when you reset the pieces and play again”. Nothing can keep you down if you dont let it.
So many life lessons in one movie. “The little one can become the big one” Phiona gets to learn that no matter how humble your beginnings, you can become something great. And Robert Katende had a super rough life growing up. Passed from aunt to aunt, his mother dead, and he still continued to thrive. I learned in the book he played football and was so great other teams would pay him to play with them. He got top marks in university but he chose to make a difference in the lives of children. He chose to lead by his faith and when some children didnt want to play football he offered them to a chance to learn chess. A free cup of porridge a day turned into some amazing players he called the Pioneers and then he met Phiona and recognized her potential. “You belong where you believe you belong”. Every one can achieve something in life.
There is just so much I can say about the emotion this movie will cause. All I can leave you with is that you need to go see the movie. QUEEN OF KATWE IS IN SELECT THEATERS NOW AND NATIONWIDE SEPTEMBER 30TH!