Good movie but grossly overrated
This story has more twists and turns than a second-rate soap opera.
Funny, strange, confrontational and subversive, this is one of the most interesting experiences you'll have at the cinema this year.
This movie feels like it was made purely to piss off people who want good shows
I am not a big fan of Mira Nair. But I like some of her films, particularly 'Amelia'. Because she usually prefers India and Indian subjects and cast as what she's. Outside that circle, she was not that successful, until now. It was a sport film, that revolved around chess game. Inspired by an incredible true story from the dark continent. It all happened less than ten years ago. Disney and ESPN together produced it. So when these two productions come together, you would know what to expect.Seeing the opening few minutes, it reminded me the recent New Zealand film 'The Dark Horse'. Kind of a similar film, but I was not that impressed with that. But this one was awesome. Simply a miracle. Like any fairy-tale from the Disney. She was not a princess, but in a way she turns to be one. Years ago when I reviewed 'Searching for Bobby Fischer', I said that was the film should be shown in the schools. Now add this title as well to the list.The opening was the ending. Then followed the flashback, which went to the 4 years ago. Living in a slum of Katwe, a single mother raising her children, but not without their contribution to the family. Now the focus shifts to one of the family members, Phiona. Curiosity on her brother who disappears every day after sold out his goods leads her to a new path. That's when she discovers a game she had never heard of before. After learning the basics, she quickly picks up the rest of the game on her own and becomes a prodigy.❝Losing teaches me how to play better.❞This is like most of the true stories you have seen, but that's the truth as well in here. What might come later could impress you. Because it was not like she has a superpower, so she can clear her life path just like that. Honestly, the real test begins now for her, how she uses her gift. But it was her coach who understood the situation, and tried his best to push her further with the big tournaments, in the national and the international level. Not just her, there has been a team behind her. So the remaining is to reveal how far she would go, as well as the story of her struggling family.They have got the cast perfectly. Everyone was brilliant. David Oyelowo was amazing, surely one of my favourite British actors for now. This is the second consecutive time he's making a such impression. Not long ago with 'A United Kingdom'. Definitely the Oscars is just a corner. And then Lupita Nyong'o, she was not the centre of the story, but had enough part and she excelled every bit of it. The rest of the actors, including the one who played Phiona was amazing. At the end credit, both the cinematic and the real life characters appeared. I felt that was a result of excitement, but liked it.The sad part was why such films were ignored at the big stages! This is a must see film, especially if you have a kid(s) in the home, show it to them. Being the parents, uncle and aunt, that's one of the best thing you would do for them. Because no one knows when and where kids gets their confidence boost, inspiration or discovering a new path. You can't compare films with real life, even it was a biopic. But still the true story always remains a true story, even after they're compressed to 120 minutes. Particularly the Disney film gets rid of harsh parts, making a family friendly film. So watch it for a change, you have no other reasons, you could be impressed!8/10
I've read a good amount of comments on this site about this movie; and to those people who are trashing the movie... lighten up! The movie is not made for you or your peers. It seems that their complaints and criticizes are irrelevant because they are adults who are thinking and commenting as adults on a children/youth movie. Remember folks, this a Disney movie and its target audiences are not you adults! Ask any teenagers, younger movie-goers, and they would tell you how wonderful this movie is to them. Not only the real and touching acting, the wonderful aesthetic visual elements, the sensitive story-telling way, the emotional and character-building plot, it's also an eye opening for young people in this country to see the unfortunates and their hard life in Africa. It's a teachable moment for our youngs (and olds) of this privileged nation with all the fortune and blessings they take for granted throughout their life.
This is the story of Phiona Mutesi, an accomplished young Ugandan chess player. The story follows the standard script of inspiring sports story where the underdog meets competition and succeeds, but not without overcoming many obstacles. One of the biggest obstacles Phiona had to overcome, and what makes this a remarkable story, is her having been born and raised in Katwe, a slum in the City of Kampala.The dialog offers little by way of surprise. After Phiona loses a crucial match she expresses self-doubt and questions whether she should go on. Interacting with her coach after the loss, in a scene with a strong emotional buildup, her coach delivers the tired line, "You must never surrender." I appreciated this having been filmed on location in Uganda. The bright colors are a delight to the eye. The costumes make a vivid impression, from the women's dresses to the more subtle intricate designs and colors of the men's shirts. The little insight into what life looks like in a Kampala slum is something I would never otherwise have gotten. I would like to have seen more of the daily life in Katwe.Using non-professional actors for many of the roles worked two ways for me, it added authenticity at the expense of stilted acting.In all movies "based on a true story" I always have a question as to just how many liberties were taken for audience appeal. This movie may have pushed the envelop--it tries to extract every last drop of emotion. The overt attempt to manipulate drains the true emotional content. A little research reveals that Mutesi's chess playing is not of the prodigy caliber as portrayed; her ranking by the World Chess Federation among active players is around 90,000. Her apparent financial success, as represented by her buying a nice house for her mother, could not have come from her chess wins, since any major money from tournament wins is awarded only to the very top players. The celebration of her last win make it look like it was for a national holiday. Is chess really that popular in Uganda? All of the exaggeration is not to take away from Mutesi's achievements that are extraordinary given her background and living conditions.There are lots of chess-related movies out there (Google "chess movies") and, of the half dozen or so I have seen, my favorite is "Searching for Bobby Fischer."
My wife and I watched this at home on DVD from our public library.My introduction to chess was in 1972 as the world watched the matches between Fischer and Spassky. I quickly learned how to play chess, but almost anyone can learn how to be a decent player. However it is the rare person whose mind can work 6, 8, 10 or more moves ahead to play chess at a very high level.This movie is about Phiona Mutesi (new actress Madina Nalwanga) and spans the years 2007 through 2011. She was only 10, living in a very poor section of a village. She was not attending school, she was helping her family by selling corn in the streets. One day she happened upon a group of children being instructed by David Oyelowo as Robert Katende. Young Phiona took an interest and, after learning the basic moves and strategy, quickly began to show more promise than the others.The story is about what transpired during those 4 years, how young Phiona struggled to fit into a new idea of life, how an education and successful chess competition could lead to a happier, more prosperous life. Award-winner Lupita Nyong'o is good as the single mother who has a hard time processing this new set of opportunities for her daughter. Good movie, an example of how life can surprise. Phiona is still competing and winning, still working towards Grandmaster status.