The true story of how Phiona’s life is changed forever when Robert introduces a group of Ugandan children to the game of Chess. The strategy and logic required seems perfect for the girl who can easily problem solve.
The film is well rather wonderful, not your huge feel good over the top one though. It has a heart and amazingly lovely moments, but it also has very sad and emotional moments. Just showing what parts of Africa are like, the living conditions and what people have to do to survive. I hope that it raises awareness just how tough some people really have it. I have been on two trips to Africa with work in South Africa and Zambia, the later had plenty of shanty towns and I think that certainly effected my engaged in this film as I have seen some of those surroundings for myself.
I think the film should also show that you will never really understand and know what a person is capable of unless they have a chance to try. I mean I have tried to play Chess in the past but cannot really remember how exactly to play, all of the rules. It was really great to see them practicing and getting better all of the time.
Robert was a great role model and really ended up caring for his pioneers giving them more and more opportunities to compete and show the federation what they can do. It was a terrific performance from David Oyelowo, I really don’t think he will ever do any wrong! He certainly helped the pace of the film and I throughly enjoyed the character and everything he did for those children. Especially when he had a tough decision to make eventually being offered a job in Engineering what he had studied at University.
This was Madina Nalwanga’s film debut and that is outstanding to find out after the film. She is amazing as Phiona and you really do love the character and hope everything will work out for her. She has had a very tough start in life as her mother was doing everything possible to stop her from going down the same path as her older sister Night. She had to occasionally care for her younger brother Richard, and it was her brother Brian who was running off everyday that she ended up playing Chess.
Lupine Nyong’o also put in a great performance and really seems to go from strength to strength in each film. The unsure mother who really is trying to do everything she can to ensure her children are eating everyday. She is not sure about them actually playing Chess and not spending more time trying to make money.
I am so pleased I went to see this at the cinema and I am sure it won’t have a very big release considering at the 8pm showing on the opening night only myself and three other people were in the screening. Which is such a shame considering it is an extremely powerful and moving piece that should get a lot of credit, just a shame it won’t do much at the box office. Even with Disney attached to it, it certainly isn’t the normal type of film from them. I think that makes it even better they are involved. A great story of passion and dedication to really be able to save your life, there’s a difference between living and surviving!