A breath of jubilant fresh air in the genre of the sporting underdog, QUEEN OF KATWE, from director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding), charts the rise of Phiona Mutesi, an unlikely chess prodigy from the Katwe slum in Uganda.
Ten year old Phiona (newcomer Madina Nalwanga) is introduced to chess when she wanders into a club that has been set up in Katwe by soccer-player-turned-missionary Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), and it becomes immediately obvious that Phiona is a prodigy. Enjoying the intelligence and wit of the game, where “the small one can become the big one”, Phiona’s natural aptitude causes Katende to mentor her, and plan to enter her in chess competitions in Uganda and further afield. But resistance comes in the form of Phiona’s mother Harriet (Lupita Nyong’o), a cautious and fiercely protective woman who doesn’t want to see her daughter disappointed by a world that may not welcome her gifts.
A true story given triumphant cinematic treatment by Nair and filled with moving performances, QUEEN OF KATWE is the feel-good film you’ve been waiting all year for.
Release Date: December 1, 2016
Running time: 2hrs 4mins