The new film "Queen of Katwe" is one of those feel good, underdog, previously unknown, true "sports story" movies that would normally blow me away.
Easily this film could have been shorten and romanced to only the "glass half full" details of this storied rise by a young lady (in very recent history) from the slums of Uganda.
But no!… this film is extended to be slightly over 2 hours that no doubt slowed the film and increased the delving into the socio-economic hurdles of this improbable story. Not your typical Disney film of tight, fun, happy stories.
Digging deep into the socio-economic issues could hurt the box office as the film doesn't zip and hence grab a larger audience. So Kudos to the director etc. who made sure the audience got a flavor of the odds against the meteoric success of 10 year old Phiona, her single mom, raising 3 kids in the slums of Katwe (Uganda).
Her journey and that of many others continues today under the heroic teachings of "coach" Robert Katende who is nearly the work of mythical portions for what he has done under the radar for 1000's of Ugandan boys and girls (stay for the credits).
The casting is perfect as well as the sounds (music) and dress (colors). The poverty blows you away as kids lose their youthful innocence so early as they are introduced very early to adult responsibilities (child care of siblings) and making $ (selling products, food etc.) on the street. And forget about the idea of going to school past age 10 (all private… a.k.a. costs $)
Uber Alicia Keys song "Back to Life" in the film is dang powerful stuff and quite haunting.