The Queen of Katwe is a heartwarming true story about a girl named Phiona from the slums of Uganda who finds her true calling, chess. Phiona overcomes family problems, hunger, and discrimination to rise up and become a champion.
From selling maize at her local market, to competing at international chess championships, Phiona never gives up throughout the story. This resilience is inspiring to watch and makes the characters very likeable. Phiona finds safe haven from her hard life of taking care of her brothers and her mother by spending time with the Pioneers, a chess club for poor children. The coach of the Pioneers is a very good chess player who worked his own way out of the slums as an orphan. As a coach, he inspires and delights the children he teaches. The intelligence and grit the coach has while teaching Phiona and the Pioneers is entertaining and gives the kids purpose and focus.
Even though Phiona begins to win some chess tournaments, her life is by no means perfect. She is still living in poverty with her single mom, two younger brothers, and an older sister who is never around. They get evicted from their shanty because they can’t pay rent, and Phiona thinks that she should stop playing chess.
“Don’t be too early to tip your king,” her coach tells her. He convinces her to continue with her quest of becoming a chess champion. Her determination and sacrifice for something that she loves is very eye opening and makes her a more developed character in the eyes of the audience. As Phiona comes back to chess, her mother is reluctant to have her continue playing. Her mom is worried that she will not help out enough and she might not fit back into her normal life after being a chess champion. But, as Phiona develops as a person and a chess player, her mom begins to support her.
Phiona’s journey from the slums of Uganda is emotional, heartwarming, and humorous. The Queen of Katwe is a must see movie for anyone and everyone. I would recommend this movie for ages 10+, as there are some intense scenes. This unforgettable tale is sure to inspire you and stay with you for a long time to come.