Coming to Blu-ray and Digital HD from Disney and director Mira Nair is the story of hope, belief, love and family with “Queen of Katwe.”
Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) is a soccer coach who also teaches the children who live in Kampala, Uganda to play chess. In the slum area of Katwe is Phiona (Madina Nalwanga), a ten-year-old girl who watches the game being played and quickly picks up on the techniques. Katende is amazed at how well she does along with the other children.
Phiona’s mother Nakku (Lupita Nyong’o) is worried about her children. Raising them alone with very little income she is concerned that Katende is filling their heads with big, impossible dreams. Phiona’s brother Brian (Martin Kabanza) and sister Night (Taryn Kyaze) are also troubling Nakku driving a wedge in the family.
As Katende begins to take his chess group into competitions, it becomes clear these children may be different but talented. Standing out is Phiona who has the dream of one day getting away from the slums of Katwe and creating a life that will make her mother proud.
When her competition chances are shot down, Phiona falls into the belief that she is not meant to live a better life. Sometimes you have to fall before the best of us all can rise!
Nalwanga as Phiona is a tough little girl and she has the expressive face to prove it. She is tough on the outside because she has to be but inside her dreams are just as wonderful. Nalwanga takes this role and makes it believable and amazing.
Oyelowo as Katende is an actor that always seems to embrace roles that are so thoughtful and in “Queen of Katwe” he once again is riveting to watch. Portraying a man who thought more of others than himself, it is a heartwarming performance.
Nyong’o as Nakku Harriet is a mother who wants what’s best for her children yet knows the reality of life. Never wanting her children to be disappointed or let down, she shields them but in a way that is detrimental to all of their lives. I enjoyed Nyong’o’s performance as this young mother who tries to believe and is shown how by her children.
Other cast include: Ronald Ssemaganda as Ivan, Ethan Nazario as Benjamin, Nikita Waligwa as Gloria, Edgar Kanyike as Joseph, Esther Tebandeke as Sara Katende and Peter Odeke as Mr. Barumba.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment began distributing under its own label in 1980 and continues to bring quality programming to kids and kids at heart. Home of the most beloved animated features including “Snow White,” “Pinocchio” and “Sleeping Beauty” to name a few is what keeps families coming back for more. To see what is currently available to add to your own family library please visit. www.movies.disney.com for their At Home titles!
“Queen of Katwe” is an inspirational film about the success of a young girl who might otherwise have gone unnoticed and also of her struggle and determination. That is what makes this story a perfect Disney film. Watching the family change the way they think, in part because of Katende, is filled with forgiveness that was necessary for them all to succeed.
The Blu-ray and Digital HD Bonus Extras include “Queen of Katwe: Their Story” — Discover the stories behind the people who helped bring the film to life, and how they reflect the vibrant community, culture and spirit it celebrates, “A Fork, A Spoon & A Knight” — Director Mira Nair’s short film about Robert Katende, a boy who grows up to transform a Ugandan city into a globally renowned chess sanctuary, and “In the Studio with Alicia Keys” — Go behind the scenes with Alicia Keys for an inspiring look at the recording of her song “Back to Life.”
Also included is “Alicia Keys ‘Back to Life’ Lyric Video” — Sing along with on-screen lyrics, “Young Cardamom & Hab ‘#1 Spice’ Music Video” — The Ugandan hip-hop duo bring the flavor in a music video directed by Mira Nair, “Audio Commentary with director Mira Nair” and “Deleted Scenes” with introductions by Mira Nair.
In the end — one girl’s triumphant path to becoming a chess champion!