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A United Kingdom

  • Drama
  • History
  • 2016
  • Amma Asante
  • 106 mins
  • 12A

Summary

Romantic drama based on a true story, starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike. In postwar London, Prince Seretse Khama is studying law in preparation for his ascension to the throne of Bechuanaland, a British Protectorate (later to become Botswana). However, when he meets and falls for Ruth Williams, a white clerk, it ignites a diplomatic storm in both Britain and in Africa.

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Review

A star rating of 3 out of 5.

If ever a film had its heart in the right place, it's this well-intentioned, photogenic true story of a postwar interracial marriage with constitutional and geopolitical implications. David Oyelowo brings muscular dignity and at least one Selma-recalling speech to his portrayal of Prince Seretse Khama, who became the first president of Botswana after leading the former British protectorate to independence. Adapted by Guy Hibbert (Eye in the Sky) from Susan Williams's account, Amma Asante's follow-up to the celebrated and similarly colonially themed Belle focuses on Seretse's scandalous 1940s nuptials to Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike). While he is attacked by thugs in London, she must bear a subtler form of racism: the collective cold shoulder from his tribe when they return to Africa to rule. What's missing is a sense of passion in their government-defying romance, while the white-suited British antagonists - typified by Jack Davenport's diplomat, lacking only a waxed moustache - feel as two-dimensional as the local people conversely depicted as saintly and wise. Such shortcuts diminish the cumulative power of the drama, with even the gravest threats defused over gin on the veranda. Asante has a keen eye, and in bringing a little-told chapter to a wider audience at a time of ethnic tensions in the UK and abroad, she remains a force for good. If only her film sang, rather than reasoned.

Credits

Cast

rolename
Seretse KhamaDavid Oyelowo
Ruth WilliamsRosamund Pike
Sir Alistair CanningJack Davenport
Rufus LancasterTom Felton
Muriel WilliamsLaura Carmichael
Naledi KhamaTerry Pheto
Lady Lilly CanningJessica Oyelowo
CharlesArnold Oceng
Prime Minister Clement AtleeAnton Lesser
Tony BennJack Lowden
Fenner BrockwayNicholas Rowe
Dot WilliamsAnastasia Hille
George WilliamsNicholas Lyndhurst

Crew

rolename
DirectorAmma Asante

Details

Theatrical distributor
Pathe Productions LTD
Released on
2016-11-25
Languages
English | Tswana
Guidance
Some violence, swearing and racist language
Available on
DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour

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