Critic Reviews



Based on 40 critic reviews provided by
This humanistic tale, helmed by a masterful filmmaker, offers a potent — and yes, inspirational — story of triumph against huge odds.
For what is, in essence, a by-numbers Disney sports flick, there’s endless freshness and vivacity to Mira Nair’s picture – her best in years.
Time Out London
If you’re the person who watches weepies with a cynical curl of the lip, this isn’t the film for you. Everyone else, prepare to have your heartstrings plucked.
It seems unlikely that Phiona Mutesi ever imagined her life would one day be the subject of a Disney film. But she certainly learned that life is full of surprises. When it comes to movie surprises, Queen of Katwe is a truly pleasant one.
The Playlist
The picture is genuinely entertaining and moving, but the fact it even exists in the first place is something you simply cannot dismiss.
The film’s strongest assets are undoubtedly its actors.
Even with director Mira Nair’s typically vivid sense of place and the charismatic central performances by David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and a striking newcomer, the film hits every note of plucky positivity so squarely on the head that it leaves little room for audience involvement.
No amount of strong performances and good vibes can hide the sense that we’re just watching a paint-by-numbers routine. Nair puts so much effort into galvanizing the movie’s central figures that the slightest hints of conflict register as little more than an inconvenience.
Nyong’o’s gravitas is undercut by a script teeming with wooden platitudes, special lessons learned, and the overbaked dialogue of a Joan Crawford melodrama.
Perhaps it’s simplistic to say that director Mira Nair has fashioned a good-looking but Disney-fied version of actual events, and yet the studio’s predictably uplifting-at-all-costs blandness slowly but methodically drains the material of its richness.

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