I left chess to the experts who filled up a classroom during the lunch hour chess club.

I doubt there were many masters there, if any, but I wouldn’t want to play any of them, in case I got whipped.

Queen Of Katwe (1)Disney’s Queen of Katwe (2016; out now on DVD) is a true story about a Ugandan girl who becomes a chess master, the one no one wants to play, but would like to beat.

Some would take up the challenge, though. That’s just how it goes.

Phiona Mutesi’s (Madina Nalwanga) rise to the top level came through a bit of curiosity. Her evening began–after a long day selling maize–spying the local chess club, where children gathered.

The chess club is run by the Sports Ministry Outreach to the slum. Teacher / Coach Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) invites her in, she plays, he sees her ability, and he advises her that the way out of the slum is through a strategy, like playing a game of chess.

She learns chess fast and in a few years is competing internationally. Time can go fast when someone’s ability is seen by those who can move a career along.

Her way out of the slum is the way up.

It’s colorful, but does not undermine the realities of slum life. PG for sure, but not avoiding the need to have money, the means to do this, moral dilemmas, makeshift housing, and a mother’s insistence on survival and not the fanciful ideas of chess glory. Making the girl’s rise extraordinary.

Phiona’s mother Nakku Harriet is played by Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o who is splendid in this.

It’s a good story. It’s about the possibilities. How could Phiona get out of the slum? What good could she do with her success? How could she help her family?

The outreach to the slum done good because without it Phiona’s talent wouldn’t have been discovered.

A positive, well-acted drama, about faith (it’s subtle) and applying mental strength to overcome difficulties.

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