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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Queen of Katwe Reigns Something Fierce {A Review}

The Queen of Katwe Reigns Something Fierce
{A Review}
I was given the opportunity to screen this movie from Disney Studios but all the opinions are my very own.
This movie had me from the get-go. The cast, the sweeping view of Africa, and the remarkable real-life story centered around the fierce Phiona (perfectly portrayed by newcomer Madina Nalwanga). She becomes a skilled chess player and we see her growth, setbacks and accomplishments.
You will be swept away to the struggles of intense poverty that is reality for so many in Uganda and around the world. The messy and gritty division of society's rich and poor. You will also be taken aback with the universal themes of love, family and mentorship. The film picked me up, shook me and embraced me by the end. The emotions were real. I cheered, cried, laughed, gasped, and danced throughout the tale. The magic of Disney and superb characterization by Lupita N'yongo, David Oyelowo, and the entire cast brought the story to life. 
I am an ESL teacher and I work with students from East African countries, some that had even lived in Uganda as refugees. The fact that Queen of Katwe was filled with African actors brought my heart joy. I am beyond thrilled to see a movie that shows the power, determination, and pride that I see in so many of my students' eyes through those of Phiona's.
 It also brought up themes about belonging. The coach (David Oyelowo) and Phiona's mother (Lupita N'yongo) often help Phiona see that she belongs where she wants to belong.  I see confusion of identity a lot with my students. They sometimes struggle to feel they are part of their new communities but don't always feel comfortable in their traditional ones either. The main character's remarkable chess skills allowed her to experience life beyond her borders (real and imagined). This made her have some of those same feelings of doubt and fear of fitting in or truly belonging in one place or the other. In one final chess tournament scene Coach encourages Phiona by yelling "You belong here."
I cannot wait to show this film in my classes, to have students that relate to that theme and others. I hope it helps them to become inspired to carve out their own paths and identities here in their new lives. 

Do not sleep on this movie- it is worth it. It is a 2 hour saga that spans years of the protagonist's life and I was intrigued every second. Make sure to truly enjoy it to the end when we are given the chance to see the real life inspirations for the movie. 

I will be taking my family to see it and I will be ecstatic to re-live it again.  It was that good. No, it was that fierce.

1 comment:

  1. Surely want to see this story! GREAT REVIEW!


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