“Queen of Katwe” is a fascinating biopic for ESPN Films and Disney to tackle. While I’m familiar with the book that launched in 2011. There’s something else going on here. The film wants to mine its foreign roots, but it goes out of its way to be relatable to the West. There are aspirations of being a challenging sports film, but then it wants to be an international family drama. Schizo thy name is Katwe.

Director Mira Nair is an incredible talent. The past week has seen me show “Monsoon Wedding” to two other people based off “Queen of Katwe” alone. While everyone can admire Nair’s ability to break out of American/Hollywood crutches, something is always missing. Whether it’s the over-reliance on novice child actors or not knowing what language to shoot in, the film is a creative choice too far. But, the kids are so charming. When doesn’t that count?

Well, this is a film that was never quite sure what it wanted to be for an audience. Selling Chess as a means of overcoming your poor background is inspiring. However, what’s the deal with the Sports Ministry? What’s the deal with the fact that the Hotel Rwanda style tragedies of the past only being mentioned in passing? Exactly how old is the coach supposed to be? He looks youthful in the late 00s, but appears to have gone to school on the Cosby Show international set.

When I’m unsure of a movie, I eyeball the rest of the audience. Sometimes, I get that luxury. These guys and gals ate it up, so maybe it’s not that hard of a push for Disney/ESPN. It’s just that I don’t see the movie having legs. Honestly, it’s a film that most will discover on home video and never pick up again. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s just very forgettable.


  • 2 hrs and 4 mins
  • Disney
  • PG


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