Queen of Katwe (2016): Dreams of Becoming a Grandmaster

Posted: February 26, 2017 in Biography, Drama, Personal

Phiona, a young Ugandan girl, has a simple life working with her mother to sell crops at the market. She stumbles upon a missionary and his chess club, feeling invited to join and enjoy a little break from her simple life. Robert Katende believes she is a true champion and invests in her development as a player. She resists during her training because she feels guilty about having opportunity well beyond her family’s simpler life. When she finally gets the chance to compete, her competitiveness gets put to the test.

Confidence in Talent: It was beneficial that Robert believed in her, but Phiona quickly developed a sense of strength in her ability to see multiple steps ahead of her opponents. She quickly rose to the top of her group at the missionary, but it was not until she started to compete that she began to get inflated. Failure set her back a bit, but Robert’s belief in her pushed her back into competition.

Ugandan Slums: There are a number of films out there that depict the stark contrast of conditions between first and third world areas. Queen of Katwe felt like a realistic look at the lives of families living in the slums. There was a sense that the environment was a bit more colorful than reality, but it still exhibited the harshness of the monsoon and limited resources.

Opportunity to Achieve: While Phiona certainly was the focus of the film, the rest of the kids were entertaining to watch as well. Their personalities were bold and inspiring. The kids were at odds when Phiona first showed up, but they found support through their combined success. Her achievements were elevated by her peers and they found strength in being the outliers. Each of them went on to gain scholarships and further opportunities to advance their education.

Final Verdict: This was a truly feel-good film highlighting a young talent. Phiona was an easy girl to like, with her combination of confidence and heart.

Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5


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