A United Kingdom: Movie Review
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A real-life story does not always a good movie make. Fox Searchlight's A United Kingdom finds itself in the magnificent minority.
From British director Amma Asante (who brought us the 2013 indie period drama Belle) comes an intimate and sweeping love story, one that survived against all obstacles -- foreign and domestic.
While studying in London in the late 1940s, Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) falls in love with a local girl named Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike). Their affinity for jazz -- and each other -- spurs on a budding romance despite the rancour their being together -- as a white English woman and an African prince -- begets. Summoned home to take his place as King of Bechuanaland, Khama and Ms. Williams wed in secret. Their elopement causes a rift that reaches the far corners of the earth.
Filmed in England and Botswana (modern-day Bechuanaland), A United Kingdom drops moviegoers into another time and place -- all the while engaging us in this personal drama. Asante's film isn't merely a history lesson -- though much can be learned from it.
Beautifully acted, scripted, and filmed, A United Kingdom offers audiences an honorable love story, one for the ages, at the movies this Valentine's Day weekend.
Supported by the terrific performances of its two leads, this historical drama tugs at every emotion. You'll celebrate every triumph, mourn and rebuke every injustice this loving couple endured -- from all sides.
Rated PG-13 for some language including racial epithets and a scene of sensuality, A United Kingdom isn't appropriate for children. Offensive slurs are used. A number of scenes show characters drinking alcohol. There's a sex scene that occurs after the elopement, but it's tastefully done.
Asante's film does a service to Khama and Williams, telling their heartbreaking and heartwarming love story well. It encourages all of us to hold fast to hope when Khama speaks these poignant words (ones that ring true especially in these divided days) to his distraught wife:
"Let us not allow the ugliness of this world to take our joy away from us."
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