Living in Katwe, a slum in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona, her mother Nakku Harriet and younger members of her family. She and her younger brother help their mother sell maize in the market. She also helps care for her baby brother. Her world changes one day when she meets Robert Katende at a missionary program. Katende coaches soccer and teaches children to play chess at a local center. Curious, Phiona approaches and learns the game. She becomes fascinated with it and soon becomes a top player in the group under Katende's guidance.
Nikita Waligwa - she played Phiona's friend Gloria who first taught her the rules of chess - was suffering from a brain tumor so director Mira Nair organized medical treatment in India. But sadly Nikita died in 2020, aged only fifteen. See more »
Every game of chess but one ends with a checkmate, something which hardly ever happens once players have acquired some experience. The one exception is when Phiona resigns a game which is treated as a personal crisis, when in fact it's normal to resign from hopeless positions - especially when playing with the black pieces, for this brings the disadvantage of not making the first move.
Never seen in the movie are any games ending with a draw, which in chess is extremely common. See more »
[At 143:45 Robert looks across the table at Fiona]
I can see your mothers strength in you Fiona... How is she?
[Fiona looks down not wanting to answer]
If I could see my mother... for just one more time... I would have gave everything in my possession for that.
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Just before the credits, there are short scenes of the major characters with the real people they portrayed. A brief synopsis of what the real people have done since the events of the film and are doing at the time of the film's completion is displayed as well. See more »
This film tells the story of a teenage girl from a Ugandan ghetto. She is discovered by a chess teacher to be brilliant in chess, and hence she embark on a journey on international chess championships to lift her out of the ghetto.
"Queen of Katwe" tells a story that inspires people across the socioeconomic spectrum. Phiona and her family struggles to make ends meet, and yet she does something that is not conventionally economically active. The hardship of living in a ghetto is well depicted in the film, especially in the eviction scene and the car accident scene. The story is touching, especially when it tells how Phiona is under pressure. I notice how they depict Phiona under pressure during a chess game, and the opponents looking confident by staring fiercely into Phiona. This adds dimension to the story.
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