This week on Blu-ray from director Amma Asante and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes a story of love and country along with “A United Kingdom.”
Studying law in 1940s Britain, Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) is out one night with friends when he sees Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike). They begin seeing one another much to the displeasure of Ruth’s parents and even more so when she tells them she is engaged.
One announcement he does make to Ruth is that he is Prince Seretse Khama of Bechuanaland and he would soon need to return to his country. Thrilled at the prospect of joining him, the couple begins to make plans. What they don’t count on is the reaction of those around them because of the differences in the color of their skin.
Ruth’s father makes it clear that if she goes, he will disown her which upsets her mother and sister. Seretse’s Uncle Tshekedi Khama (Vusi Kunene) who has been regent of their people while the prince has been away at college is furious and claims the tribe will now allow it.
Returning to Seretse’s homeland in South Africa, his Uncle wastes no time in expressing himself as Ruth is berated by Ella Khama (Abena Ayivor) and his sister Naledi Khama (Terry Pheto). Thinking nothing else could possible happen, Seretse’s Uncle tries to stir up the villagers to turn against their future King.
That is when Sir Alistair Canning (Jack Davenport) and Rufus Lancaster (Tom Felton) begin to use the strong arm of politics to try and break the couple apart. But Seretse begins to discover that there is perhaps something even more sinister behind their plan to bring more than a couple under their rule.
Tricking Seretse into returning to Britain to work on the matter, a time of exile begins and the fight to protect their own country as they call upon the international community to help restore what would become the Republic of Botswana.
Oyelowo as Seretse gives a strong performance as a man unwilling to be told by either side who to love or how to rule. He portrays a man who thinks carefully before reacting and believes in the premise that left unchecked; Britain could take what belongs to his people. I enjoyed Oyelowo’s portrayal of this man who was before his time.
Pike as Ruth portrays a woman who is also before her time. Learning that the opposition of being with Seretse was hated on both sides, she still chooses to stand by her husband and the country that adopts her in the end. Pike’s performance gives us only a taste of what it must have been like and that is more than enough to know that the beginning of their life was difficult beyond belief.
Kunene as Tshekedi Khama is set in his traditional ways and is the catalyst for Britain do try and take what is not theirs. Ayivor as Ella Khama has a spiteful tongue having no difficulty in telling Ruth what she thinks but then again family is always the first to have an opinion.
Pheto as the King’s sister Naledi Khama is not happy at first believing their people would never accept a white Queen. Once she becomes aware of how everyone, both black and white, are treating Ruth, it is time someone was on her sister-in-law’s side.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have, go to www.fox.com.
“A United Kingdom” includes the bonus features of “Making of A United Kingdom,” “Filming in Botswana,” “The Legacy of Seretse and Ruth” and “London Film Festival Opening Night Gala Premier.”
“A United Kingdom” is a story of two people who were unwilling to give either side the satisfaction they sought. Whether through the color of their skin, the politics or the under handedness of mining their land – they may have stumbled but did not fall.
This history of King Khama is complex enough yet the film gives us all a look that makes looking further into the story a must. The performances of the film are strong and do not sugar coat in any way the issues of the 1940s both in Britain and in Botswana.
Yet the strength of these two people brings both the hope and the belief that when facing injustice head on, something has to give!
In the end – it is the story of a love that shook an empire!