Monday, October 10, 2016
Please Go See "Queen of Katwe"
Yes, it's a classic underdog story that's been done maybe too many times. Yes, the ending is predictable and makes you feel all gooey inside. But the setting--a slum in Uganda--is not anything I've seen before on screen. The actors are all African or of African decent. And the main character--Phiona--is phenomenally played by an ordinary Ugandan girl who grew up very similarly to Phiona herself--selling corn on the street. In fact, I read today that "The second time Madina Nalwanga saw a film inside a theater, she was the star of it."
Sure, this may be a Stand-Up-and-Cheer movie, but it also doesn't sugarcoat.
As I watched "The Queen of Katwe" this afternoon, I kept thinking--Yes, this is what many parts of Africa really look like. I've been in markets just like that. Yes, many really do live in shacks like Phiona's family. Yes, many young girls feel their only way out of that life is by selling themselves to men. Yes, flooding in the slums really is that bad. Yes, hospitals often operate without anesthetic. Yes, there really is that kind of income disparity in Africa. Yes. Yes. People need to see this.
I try to explain East Africa to you with my words and my pictures. This movie does it so much better. Please, go see this movie. We took all our kids. It was a little intense; the girls cried. I cried. There's a few things in this movie that some parents might not want their young children to see, so please check sources like this one before deciding if your kids can handle it. We are pretty protective with our kids when it comes to movies. But you know what? I'm not going to protect them from the devastation of what poverty looks like. That's something they need to see. So do I.