A heartwarming story full of joy, determination, and reaching impossible goals. Queen of Katwe opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, September 30th. Based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi, who rose from the poverty-stricken slums of Katwe, to become a world-class chess player, Queen of Katwe is a film for everyone.
(Thanks to Disney for providing me with an all-expenses paid press trip that included that Queen of Katwe screening.)
Are you thinking this is not a movie you will like because chess, and lots of actors you don’t know, and you’ve never been to Uganda so you can’t relate?
“Sometimes the place you are used to is not the place you belong. You belong where you believe you belong. Where is that for you?” – Robert Katende, Queen of Katwe
I could give you 5,000 reasons why Queen of Katwe is a film you will relate too, a film that will bring you to laughs and tears, and a film that will open your eyes to the possible. I could tell you how fantastically Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, and Madina Nalwanga played their roles, to a point that you forget you’re not watching a real life documentary. I could tell you about the real life Robert Katende and Phiona Mutsei being on set EVERY. DAY. to help with the authenticity of the story.
It is such a privilege making a film about Katwe, in Katwe, with people who are the heartbeat of the original story. Mira Nair, Queen of Katwe Director
I could do all that because it’s all true, and Queen of Katwe was so dang good. So SO good. But more than that, it was inspiring. Something I needed right now in my life, and I think many others do to. When life presents us hurdles and challenges, we can forget that what matters is when you “reset the pieces and play again,“ as Robert Katende reminds us.
The size of you dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them” – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and President of Liberia
At one point during the film, Phiona asks, “Can you do big things from such a small place?” It reminded me of the dreams we had as children, the dreams our kids have now. There are no limits and boundaries to what they dream to be. We need to be more like that again, instead of putting road blocks for ourselves. Had Phiona not overcome and believed she could do more with her days than sell vegetables, she would still only be selling vegetables. Now that is okay if she only wants to sell vegetables, but that wasn’t her dream.
Lupita Nyong’o plays the role of Nakku Harriet, Phiona’s mother. I got the chance to interview Lupita during the Star Wars Press Event and fell in love with her as a person. Authentic, real, and raw, she rocked it again in Queen of Katwe. Like any mother, Nakku wants to protect her children, provide for her children, and wants them to be happy.
Being a mother in Katwe is so very different in regards to the daily struggles and challenges they face, but it is so alike in that we both want the same things for our children. There are two scenes in particular that turned on the tears. Seeing a mother give up something to make dreams happen for her children, and seeing a child return to their mother after dreams are reached..they will get you in the tear ducts.
Dreams can seem so gosh darn impossible. Whether that dream is to have a million dollars in the bank, or owning your first home, or even landing that job you’ve always wanted. Dreams can be pushed back by challenges and holes that feel to deep to climb out of. We have to. We have to reach up and grab our support and “make the impossible possible with hardwork, determination, and belief,” as David Oyelowo says.
Queen of Katwe will also have you dancing in your seat. Lots of great music on the Queen of Katwe Soundtrack including Back to life by Alicia Keys, and my personal favorite, #1 Spice by Young Cardamom & HAB. If you haven’t listened to it, check it out on YouTube!
Let Queen of Katwe move and inspire you when it hits theaters on Friday, September 30th. Let it ignite your curiosity for chess and Uganda. Let it motivate you to achieve your dreams. Let it entertain your emotions with a story that needs to be told.