Queen of Katwe

2016 chess movie

Rating: 14/20

Plot: A girl from Uganda learns how to play chess and then gets really good at it.

I had tried to inspire students in my class with Phiona's story by having them read parts of the ESPN Magazine article this was based on. It didn't work. The story presented in the movie is roughly the same, and it is an inspiring story of overcoming obstacles and persistence. However, it's a paint-by-numbers situation, a Mickey Mouse-tainted production that never really feels all that realistic to me. Ugandan drama unfolds like Disney live action drama. The chess, despite a few nifty combinations that are shown, also doesn't seem that real. Admittedly, I haven't played in a chess tournament for a long time. One game seemed especially unrealistic.

Of course, if the chess and the tournaments were more realistic, it would have been boring for most audiences. It probably would have been more boring for me, too. This gets the points across, albeit in that Disneyfied vanilla way, without the need for the chess.

Solid performances made up for the grating music.

Is it just me or are there a lot of chess movies? Keep in mind, this is from somebody who used to play a lot of chess.

No comments: