Director; Amma Asante
Writer; Guy Hibbert
Runtime; 111 Minutes
Release Date; 10 Feb, 2017
Genres; Romance, Drama, Political intrigue
Reviewer; Nicholas Opolot
This heartwarming true story is told of a humble crown prince, Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) of Bechuanaland (Modern day Botswana) who meets the charming and dashing Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), a London office worker whom he marries in 1948.
Khama is heir to the Bamangwato people of Bechuanaland. He studies law in London after WW11, where he meets Ruth at a London Missionary Society dance. She’s merely a clerk from Blackhead, South London, working in Lloyds.
Despite having a common interest in jazz, the two lovebirds are unaware that their marriage will cause an international political crisis.
In the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and south African governments. They struggle against the odds to fight for their future together.
The plot whirls around the tribespeople who can’t stomach the thought of warming up to a foreign queen who adds to their burdens of British rule. Tension mounts when the crown the regent (Seretse’s Uncle), Tsekedi Khama demands he annuls the marriage or gives up the crown.
Meanwhile, the British try to pacify racist South Africa with whom they made a devilish pact to obtain cheap uranium and gold deposits.
It’s simple, annul the marriage of the bi-racial couple! This uphill task is left to the British union head, Sir Alistair Canning (Jack Davenport) who goes as far as exiling Khama.
This movie illustrates Amma’s powerful touch of direct storytelling. She digs into the corrupt machinations of colonial rule with the aid of a love story. The plot is interwoven with forbidden romance and political intrigue.
perhaps it’s an intimate personal observation of daily struggles of hopeless romantics although it’s way too cosy. The vibrant grandeur is universally appealing and is told with conviction and warmth amidst the racial tensions.
A bonus goes to the diverse cast who were quite exceptional such as the eclectic David oyelowo of the ‘Selma’ and ‘Queen of Katwe’ fame.
Khama’s speeches are also quite rousing, ‘I am told you no longer wish me to honour my duty as your king because of the colour of my wife that I have chosen’, bravo and romantic indeed!
Review aggregator, Rotten tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 91% with an average rating of 6.8/10. A must watch!