Saturday, September 24, 2016

Queen of Katwe Review - 3 Stars

ESPN found the story of Phiona Mutesi, a young chess wizard, whose skills help her rise above the poverty of her situation in modern-day Uganda. The movie based on her story inspires and uplifts, and fills all the requirements of a family film. Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o plays Phiona's hard scrabble mother, trying to keep her family together in the face of dire poverty. As the chess whiz, Madina Nalwanga provides a winning performance encouraging the audience to get on her side. The excellent David Oyelowo (best known as Martin Luther King in "Selma") plays the government youth worker who encourages young Phiona to follow her dream. Queen of Katwe takes its time telling this story. The movie succeeds in making chess at least understandable, as the plot progresses. Director Mira Nair tells her story with a sure hand. She builds to a satisfying conclusion, and follows with credits pairing the real people with the actors who play them. The end credit sequence creates one of the most satisfying finales in recent memory. 3 stars, PG rated. Does it deliver what it promises? Uplifting family story. Is it entertaining? A little slow, but worth watching. Is it worth the price of admission? Very much.