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Thanks tot Disney for sponsoring my coverage of #TheBFGEvent #QueenofKatwe
As you might remember I was in Hollywood a few months ago for the premiere of The BFG! We also had a special opportunity to screen Queen of Katwe early. It is already playing in some cities but will be everywhere this Friday, September 30th! Will I be taking the boys to see it?
YES! And after me telling them a bit about it, they are super excited to go. They loved McFarland, USA and Million Dollar arm and this one is similar, but so very different, hard, heartwarming, moving and beautiful! I think older kids, tweens and teens will love this story and it will give you so much to talk about on the car ride home.
There are some tough scenes for kids, but it all balances out in the overall story for sensitive viewers (though maybe not in the way you think initially). I feel like they did a great job telling the stories of the characters as people, not defined by where they live and the complexities of their situations. It was incredibly humbling, moving and definitely a film I want my whole family to see (and I truly believe they will all enjoy).
““Queen of Katwe” is based on the vibrant true story of a young girl from 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 from a screenplay by William Wheeler, “Queen of Katwe” is produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher, p.g.a. and John Carls, p.g.a. with Will Weiske and Troy Buder serving as executive producers. The film stars Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo, Oscar® winner and Tony Award® nominee Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.
For 10-year-old Phiona Mutesi (Nalwanga) and her family, life in the impoverished slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle. Her mother, Harriet (Nyong’o), is fiercely determined to take care of her family and works tirelessly selling vegetables in the market to make sure her children are fed and have a roof over their heads. When Phiona meets Robert Katende (Oyelowo), a soccer player turned missionary who teaches local children chess, she is captivated. Chess requires a good deal of concentration, strategic thinking and risk taking, all skills which are applicable in everyday life, and Katende hopes to empower youth with the game. Phiona is impressed by the intelligence and wit the game requires and immediately shows potential. Recognizing Phiona’s natural aptitude for chess and the fighting spirit she’s inherited from her mother, Katende begins to mentor her, but Harriet is reluctant to provide any encouragement, not wanting to see her daughter disappointed. As Phiona begins to succeed in local chess competitions, Katende teaches her to read and write in order to pursue schooling. She quickly advances through the ranks in tournaments, but breaks away from her family to focus on her own life. Her mother eventually realizes that Phiona has a chance to excel and teams up with Katende to help her fulfill her extraordinary potential, escape a life of poverty and save her family.”
I LOVE seeing the updates of the real life characters at the end of movies like this and Queen of Katwe did not disappoint. You can read more about some of them here.
If your kids are anything like mine they are instantly going to want to learn to play chess, and if you’re anything like me and know nothing about chess, I love this online Chess Academy – it’s free and has videos and games for even total newbies like me.