The inspiring true story of Seretse Khama, the King of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana), and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1948 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments. Seretse and Ruth defied family, Apartheid and empire - their love triumphed over every obstacle flung in their path and in so doing they transformed their nation and inspired the world.
|Release Date||:||November 25, 2016|
|Production Countries||:||United Kingdom|
|Writers||:||Guy Hibbert, Susan Williams|
|Casts||:||David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Tom Felton, Jack Davenport, Terry Pheto, Laura Carmichael, Jessica Oyelowo, Vusi Kunene, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Arnold Oceng, Anastasia Hille, Charlotte Hope, Theo Landey, Abena Ayivor, Jack Lowden, Zackary Momoh, Nicholas Rowe, Billy Boyle, Conny Stadler, Kevin Hand, Ray Burnet, Anton Lesser, Michael Howe, Donald Molosi, Julian Firth, Duncan Wisbey, Rupert Vansittart, James Northcote, Merveille Lukeba, Femi Ogunbanjo, Paul Putner, Will Featherstone, Danny Babington, Dave Perry, Craig Whittaker, Dean Roberts|
|Plot Keywords||:||africa, based on novel, biography, marriage, botswana, based on true story, interracial marriage, king, woman director|
Directed by Amma Asante ("Belle") this is the true tale of a real-life fairy story, featuring a handsome prince and his love, who can never be his princess thanks to the Machiavellian scheming of court-do-gooders and bureaucrats.
The prince in this case is Seretse Kham (David Oyelowo, "Selma") , heir to the throne of Bechuanaland (now Botswana), who meets and falls in love with a lowly white Lloyd's of London clerk Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl", "The World's End"). The plot has many parallels with that of another film from earlier this year: "Loving" with Ruth Negga and Joel Egerton. As an inter-racial couple in 1947 this is taboo enough, but the fact that Kham is soon to be king in a country bordering the apartheid tinder-keg that is South Africa blows the affair up to be a diplomatic crisis.
Defying the officials he marries his true love, driving a wedge between both his own uncle (Vusi Kunene ) and sister (Terry Pheto) and making Ruth an outcast in both countries. As things turn from bad to worse, can true love conquer all their adversities?
Just everything about this film delights. Oyelowo and Pike - always a safe pair of hands - add real emotional depth to their roles. Their relationship feels natural and loving without either of them trying too hard. The estrangement of Ruth from her parents (particularly her father played by Nicholas Lyndhurst) is truly touching.
Another star turn is Harry Potter alumni Tom Felton, playing Rufus Lancaster - a weaselly and very unpleasant local official. I have a prediction.... that in 30 year's time, the young Potter actor that will be the 'Ian McKellen of his day' (that is, a world recognized great actor... not necessarily gay!) will be Felton.
Sam McCurdy ("The Descent") delivers cinematography of Africa that is vibrant (to be fair, for anyone lucky enough to visit Africa will know, cameras just love the place) and the John Barry-esque music by Patrick Doyle ("Murder on the Orient Express") is pitch perfect for the mood.
A beautifully crafted film that older viewers will just love.
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