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I was so anxious to take my girl to see an early screening of Disney’s Queen of Katwe – would she like it? Would she just be bored, or not understand? She’s 10, so I was hopeful this movie could be a real light for her. I should’ve known not to worry, because Disney always comes through for me! We not only loved the film, but found Queen of Katwe Inspiring for everyone who dreams.
Phiona is a teenage girl that lives in Katwe, a tiny village of dirt streets and rundown homes. After her family lost her father and older brother, the rest of them are struggling to get by. Dreaming can be dangerous, as you may be ‘disappointed’ as her mother tells her. Once she begins learning chess from a local coach, Robert, she can’t help but think of how far she can go. She’s got a fighter spirit, after all!
Now I don’t want to give anything away, but there are 2 things for parents to know when deciding if their kids should see that I’ll put at the end – might give two minor things away, but if you really want to know, it’s there.
Her mother is truly an incredible woman – doing her very best and giving all she can to care for her children. She’s practical, yet after some time encourages Phiona to chase those dreams and become more than just a market seller-girl. The relationship between this mother-daughter combo is truly touching, and you can’t help but love them both!
Coach is another man who has my upmost respect (yes, this is based on a real story – while the actors are marvelous and I couldn’t hope for a better cast, I can see the real people behind them and all that they’ve been through). His wife and him have such huge hearts, and want nothing more than to do all they can to help these kids. Whether it’s teaching them to read, or practicing their moves, even earning money for a chess tournament – they’re 100% behind these kids!
The other members of the new chess team are quite the bunch – adorable, hilarious, and dang that ‘snap’ of theirs! My girl and I tried to do the special ‘snap’, but failed miserable. Remember, be the cat not the dog – you’ll understand once you see the movie.
To Parents – this may give a couple parts away, but nothing huge. There’s a couple spots that I know some parents wouldn’t want their children to see, so I want to make you aware: Phiona’s sister becomes a prostitute. It doesn’t show anything (other than a short part of the coach and his wife kissing in bed), and only does comments like ‘lay with a man’ or ‘men will come for me’ or ‘like a woman who sells herself for money’. It’ll be over most younger kids’ heads, but the older kids may understand. Another spot, after a man says ‘hey, corn boy’ and Phiona’s brother starts to walk towards him he’s hit by a motorcycle. It’s quick and not gory – you see a large cut on his legs as they have to stitch it without medicine, and some cuts on his face. Another part is the floods, when Phiona’s sister leaves their baby brother in the house alone and he almost drowns. It’s not scary, but very emotional – my girl was in tears. He’s fine, grabbed by his mother before he goes under, but it’s a grip-your-seat minute or two there.
I love that my girl got to see this movie, and hope that it inspires her to never settle, never give up – but also not to let defeat get in your way. Losing teaches you, and you have no idea how far you can go until you try!