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Past Films

Queen of Katwe

  • Starring: Kadina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o
  • Director: Mira Nair
  • Genre(s): Biography, Drama, Sport
  • Rating: PG
  • Running Time: 124 min.

Queen of Katwe is the colorful true story of a young girl selling corn on 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.

"The film as a whole conveys a strong sense of discovery, and humanity."
- Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"Directed by the great Mira Nair, the film hits you like a shot in the heart. Nyong'o and Oyelowo are both extraordinary, giving newcomer Nalwanga a chance to shine as Phiona grows into her own woman."
- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Ultimately, Queen of Katwe fosters a belief in the triumph of merit and talent. And that message is definitely applicable - to Western kids."
- Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer
"An uplifting and emotional story rendered with a lively vibrancy by Nair and her stars"
- Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
"David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong'o are reliably superb in the critical supporting roles of Mutesi's chess coach and young mother, respectively."
- Leah Pickett, Chicago Reader
"There's much to cheer about a movie with such a diverse cast of talent both familiar and new, set in a land that all too often is depicted on screen as a place of war and hopelessness."
- Peter Howell, Toronto Star
"It deals in a world of pawns rather than punches but Queen of Katwe is just as uplifting and feel-good a sports drama as any Rocky movie."
- Brian Truitt, USA Today
"Chess is not the most visual of games, but Nair makes these competitions come alive. She also gets the most out of her mostly nonprofessional African cast, not to mention her two stars, Oyelowo and Nyong'o."
- David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle
"In Ms. Nair’s hands, Phiona’s story has a richness and unpredictability that separates it from other, superficially similar movies. It also has the buoyant, cleareyed feel for the particulars of culture and place that is among this director’s great gifts."
- A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”) finally gets a movie role worthy of her status as an Oscar winner. She isn’t hidden behind pixels, as in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” or “The Jungle Book.” You can see her. She’s magnificent."
- Ty Burr, Boston Globe