I have reviewed many of Disney’s true story films here and I am always looking forward to new ones. Disney has really nailed how to handle these inspirational true stories, most of them about sports of one kind or another. From school teachers turning to pro baseball players in The Rookie to incredible rescue attempts at sea in The Finest Hours to a championship cross country running team in McFarland U.S.A., Disney really knows how to put top notch filmmaking teams and casts together to tell these amazingly inspirational stories. Their newest film, Queen of Katwe, joins the ranks as one of the best stories yet.
Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga) is a young girl living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda. With her family constantly struggling just to eat every day, Phiona joins a missionary program led my Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) that teaches local children to play chess. Soon Phiona discovers she not only has a natural ability for chess but ranks as one of the best Katende has ever seen. Over several years her talents develop and she starts winning competitions and tournaments which, combined with her growing pains, teaches Phiona about stress, identity issues and responsibility not only for herself but her entire family.
Queen of Katwe is a beautifully made film that serves not only as great entertainment for the entire family but as a great teaching tool for kids to learn about family responsibility and the pursuit of ones dreams. The cast is phenomenal including Oyelowo and Nyong’o and especially newcomer Madina Nalwanga. She radiates authenticity and a raw power and charisma on screen. I truly hope Hollywood takes notice and casts this young woman in more projects should she continue to pursue acting. Queen of Katwe is highly recommended.