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Plot: Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana causes an international stir when he marries a white woman from London in the late 1940s. Runtime: 111 mins Release Date: 10 Feb 2017
A true and beautifully portrayed contemporary history (by pyor66)
I lived in Botswana for twenty-five odd years and enjoyed every single moment of it, almost certainly due in large measure to Seretse's enlightened politics and the genuine and natural warmth of the Botswana people. I knew both main characters quite well. Seretse was a very approachable man, even as president, and it was a pleasure to spend some time in his company. He was a man well loved by everyone, black and white. In fact, in Botswana one scarcely thought in those terms. As a politician he had huge charisma and was a great orator. He was also a born leader. I remember well being told <more>
by insiders that government Ministers who were in trouble for minor abuse of office or the like, would tremble in fear outside his office when they were to be 'carpeted'.Ruth was an extraordinarily capable woman and even in her later years had more stamina than almost anyone I have known. She was at work in her office in Gaborone from early morning to the end of the day, patron of the Red Cross, Botswana Council of Women etc etc. Contrary, however, to one reviewer's criticism, Rosalind Pike's portrayal was quite accurate. She was not a strident campaigner but a very effective mover who enjoyed a social life and had many friends. In her widowhood she received constant visits from senior members of the tribe and government and was widely loved and respected by her people. She was most certainly "Mohumagadi" - Mother of the Nation.This film portrays their personalities pretty accurately and the characterisation of the actors is extraordinarily true to life. Both David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike were absolutely convincing. The quality of the acting very quickly overcame my initial niggling concern that the physical likenesses were not quite there. The photography of Botswana was outstanding and the familiar views of Serowe from the Palapye 'road' and the scenes in the kgotla were quite emotional for me; I unexpectedly found I had a lump in my throat.I can understand that, for others, the film may not have the immediacy it has for me, perhaps, but previous criticisms of 'cold' and 'unemotional' - No! Leaving aside my personal interest, it deserved to be the opener for the London Film Festival. Maybe not a total "blockbuster" but an unusual and great film nonetheless. Very close to fact.
Great Movie and Hidden Jewel. (by kevinmaclellan0)
This is one of those movies that is flying under the radar and deserves to be seen. It is a wonderful story, well scripted, well acted, and has terrific cinematography. The fact that is a true story makes one wonder what the hell we have been learning in school when we have never been taught this type of history. I give this a ten and really it deserves it. It is a shame people have degraded the rating for some reason other than the fact that this is good cinema. It is a very deserving movie and is like the movie Hidden Figures or Queen Katwe, it is important for history. I am a white <more>
conservative and think everyone should see the movie.
Directed by Amma Asante "Belle" this is the true tale of a real-life fairy story, featuring a handsome prince and his love, who can never be his princess thanks to the Machiavellian scheming of court-do-gooders and bureaucrats. The prince in this case is Seretse Kham David Oyelowo, "Selma" , heir to the throne of Bechuanaland now Botswana , who meets and falls in love with a lowly white Lloyd's of London clerk Ruth Williams Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl", "The World's End" . The plot has many parallels with that of another film from earlier <more>
this year: "Loving" with Ruth Negga and Joel Egerton. As an inter-racial couple in 1947 this is taboo enough, but the fact that Kham is soon to be king in a country bordering the apartheid tinder-keg that is South Africa blows the affair up to be a diplomatic crisis.Defying the officials he marries his true love, driving a wedge between both his own uncle Vusi Kunene and sister Terry Pheto and making Ruth an outcast in both countries. As things turn from bad to worse, can true love conquer all their adversities?Just everything about this film delights. Oyelowo and Pike - always a safe pair of hands - add real emotional depth to their roles. Their relationship feels natural and loving without either of them trying too hard. The estrangement of Ruth from her parents particularly her father played by Nicholas Lyndhurst is truly touching. Another star turn is Harry Potter alumni Tom Felton, playing Rufus Lancaster - a weaselly and very unpleasant local official. I have a prediction.... that in 30 year's time, the young Potter actor that will be the 'Ian McKellen of his day' that is, a world recognized great actor... not necessarily gay! will be Felton. Sam McCurdy "The Descent" delivers cinematography of Africa that is vibrant to be fair, for anyone lucky enough to visit Africa will know, cameras just love the place and the John Barry-esque music by Patrick Doyle "Murder on the Orient Express" is pitch perfect for the mood.A beautifully crafted film that older viewers will just love. For the graphical review, please visit http://bob-the-movie-man.com or One Mann's Moview on Facebook. Thanks .
Is this really a good film....or not ? (by david-423)
This is an outstanding film about a story I knew nothing about. However, my review is more a review of IMDb and its voting system.I note that this film has, at the time of writing twenty-two 1 star reviews. Maybe these are genuine but I suspect they are not. For one thing the film has not had many screenings so have as many as twenty-two different people really hated it that much?Secondly, 1 star films do not get selected for the Toronto Film Festival or for the opening night film for the London Film Festival. The programmers and selectors of these highly regarded festivals are at the top of <more>
their game and each year they are offered several thousand films. None of them are going to risk their hard fought reputations on selecting a bad 1-star film. My feeling is that these 22 people are members of the KKK who hate black people or else they are people who are jealous of the those involved in the production. Either way IMDb needs to have an algorithm that can deduce whether these people are genuine, or not. Maybe they are and the press reviews so far, which rave about the film, are wrong, but maybe these people are racist bitter bigots who hate the success of others because they themselves are failures and they have nothing better to do in their small sad lives but set up false IMDb accounts and vent their spleen in the only way they can. Time as they say will tell.
In the hands of a lesser director than the hugely talented Amma Asante, "A United Kingdom" might have been nothing more than another inter-racial romance cloaked in a veil of sickly sentimentality but, like "Belle" before it, this remarkable film works both as a genuinely moving love story but, more significantly, as a powerful political tract that draws attention to a very shameful period in recent British history with neither the Tory nor Labour governments coming out of it smelling of roses.It is the story of Seretse Khama, heir to the throne of Bechuanaland, now <more>
Botswana, who, while a student in London, fell in love with and married Ruth Williams, English and, more crucially, white bringing her back to his homeland as his queen, much to the chagrin and disapproval of both the British and South African governments and his own people. However, like all good love stories, if not quite all fairy tales, Ruth's tenacity soon wins over the people of Bechuanaland while the jaundiced, racist government of the UK proves a somewhat greater obstacle.The events portrayed in the film actually took place but until now haven't't been much discussed here in the UK. Even today inter-racial love stories can be unpopular and sadly racism remains a major issue that has yet to be eradicated. It is testament to both Seretse and to Ruth that their actions were finally instrumental in bringing democracy to Botswana with Seretse renouncing his kingship and becoming the first democratically elected president of his country.In these roles both David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike are superb and there is sterling work from an outstanding supporting cast. If the feelgood factor seems at times a tad on the heavy side in Guy Hibbert's screenplay it is still heartening to see a movie about love and about race that is largely unsentimental and politically astute. It is also gorgeously shot by Sam McCurdy and is a credit to all involved.
The English film A United Kingdom 2016 was directed by Amma Asante. It's an interesting love story, based on real events. David Oyelowo plays Prince Seretse Khama, a young African man studying law in London. Rosamund Pike plays Ruth Williams, an intelligent, fun-loving civil servant. They fall in love, and we know that their marriage will be a difficult one, because of prejudice both in England and in Africa.What we don't know is that their marriage has implications far beyond each of them. In 1947, South Africa was gearing up for its apartheid program. Bechuanaland was a British <more>
protectorate, and Seretse Khama was its rightful prince. However, South Africa borders Bechuanaland, and the South African government refused to tolerate a mixed race couple in a neighboring protectorate. That meant that not only did Seretse and Ruth face prejudice from the people around them, but they were pawns in an international standoff in which Great Britain was willing to sacrifice them to appease South Africa. What happened next became the plot of the movie.David Oyelowo is a superb actor. So is Rosamund Pike. Ms. Pike has 42 movie credits, but I believe the only other film in which I saw her was Pride and Prejudice 2005 , in which she portrayed Jane Bennet. I reviewed that movie for IMDb, and wrote that her performance was "luminous."Director Asante is skillful, and the acting and cinematography are wonderful. We saw the movie at the excellent Little Theatre in Rochester, NY. It won't work quite as well on the small screen, because the film has some breathtaking scenes of the African desert. For some reason A United Kingdom has a dismal IMDb rating of 6.7. I don't understand this--it's much better than that. Find it and judge for yourself.
Good and Effective For What It Was Trying to Do (by themovieparadise)
I had never heard of this story, so it was fascinating to learn about it through the movie. What was interesting was that while the heart of the film was Oyelowo and Pike's relationship, it wasn't necessarily the focus of the movie. The first half features them falling in love and marrying, and the second half is about the political repercussions, and the Botswanans attempts to gain independence from the British. It's almost as if everyone in the film used the relationship as an excuse to act on tensions that had been building for years. So in that regard, I was surprised. The <more>
performances are also brilliant. David Oyelowo absolutely shines in this film. I think he was ultimately better in Selma, but he turns in an A-grade performance that unfortunately is being overlooked. I do think Oyelowo outshined Pike, but she was still very good. The two had excellent chemistry, and worked beautifully together on screen...
Beautiful telling of a fascinating and important true story (by TheLittleSongbird)
The story of Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams is a fascinating one, and is of a good deal of importance and relevance now. 'A United Kingdom', which had such potential from the get go with the talent involved, doesn't disappoint and tells this story beautifully.Admittedly, this kind of story has a fair few potential traps with the themes displayed, being very difficult to get the right tonal balance and to get it completely right. 'A United Kingdom' could easily have been preachy and over-sentimental with any messaging laid on too thick, any feel-good-factors coming over as <more>
corny, characters being one-dimensional and too black and white and the sentimentality being too hard to stomach. Luckily, almost all of those traps are avoided, making 'A United Kingdom a truly absorbing and moving film.Do agree completely with all but one of the positive reviews, and can understand totally why some may not be as enamoured with it. Usually don't comment on previous reviews, as strictly it's not really supposed to be done here but is frequently done by many, but I too take issue with the content and tone of the top rated review, which is not a review and more a quite incoherent condemnation towards those who rate it low, with ridiculous conspiracy theories that do completely against what 'A United Kingdom' is really about. The number of 1 star ratings in a short space of time may raise eyebrows and can easily be questioned, even if the film didn't do much for me because the production values, directing, storytelling and acting are so well done and what it set out to do is to be admired it would not get less than a 4 or 5. This is all personal opinion of course, and do apologise for the irrelevance.'A United Kingdom' is not perfect. Some of the dialogue at the beginning is too in your face and forced and the acting of the extras is a little dodgy agreed, can definitely see why anybody may be put off from continuing. Can also understand any criticisms of the supporting characters the two lead characters are very compelling and beautifully written characters being one-dimensional and too neatly black and white, the villains especially.However, 'A United Kingdom' does look absolutely gorgeous, the period detail evocative, the scenery a feast for the eyes from the darker and more drab London location to the sweeping and colourful Botswana ones. Amma Asante directs remarkably and with assurance. Patrick Doyle provides another winner of a music score, coming from someone who has liked a lot of what he's done, full of beauty and emotional power in an understated way.While not all the script works, much of it is intelligent and thought-provoking, never taking on too much of a heavy-handed tone while making its point clearly, having much to say about the conflicts and explores and balances them with skill and the over-sentimentality never obviously creeps in. The story is beautifully and absorbingly told, told with sensitivity, tension dealt with subtlety but also hard-hitting power and poignant emotion. Seretse and Ruth's love is evident throughout, David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike's chemistry resonating believably and, even when apart in large stretches of the film, disconnect never creeps in despite the potential to.Great performances all round, apart from reservations about the extras. Oyelowo plays Seretse with towering dignity and passionate sensitivity, his speeches very moving in a gut-wrenching and powerful sense. Pike, fresh from her exceptional career-best performance in the brilliant 'Gone Girl', gives one of her best performances and certainly more than just eye-candy being one of the most naturally gorgeous actresses today , playing Ruth with calmness, sensitivity and commanding steel, Ruth's progressive attitude to race admirably portrayed and got under the skin well.Jack Davenport makes for a slimy diplomat, and Tom Felton who could easily have been out of place, was admittedly expecting him to be is surprisingly effective and a long way from lightweight. Anastasia Hille and Nicholas Lyndhurst portray Ruth's parents' disapproval very well, Arnold Oceng is very good and there is a quite powerful scene with Pike and the very emotive actress who portrays the mother-in-law.Not without its issues, but in summary 'A United Kingdom' is a very good film, telling a fascinating and important true story beautifully. 8/10 Bethany Cox
I love it when a story is told that many of us haven't heard of or known much about.Although possibly oversimplified due to the necessity of keeping the movie within a normal viewing time, nonetheless, it's a very good story about an amazing piece of history.Well acted, well directed and beautifully filmed, this is a film I'm very happy to have seen. It's an inspirational look at enduring love and intelligence, at people power and a nation's faith in their leader, as well as credibly showing yet again how the British Empire and their bevy of crooked prime ministers deem to <more>
destroy nations for greed and profit, and to boot, having the gall to treat anyone but themselves as underdogs.An excellent film for what it is and I would recommend it.