A United Kingdom Reviewed By Jarred Tito

The Premise
Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana causes an international stir when he marries a white woman from London in the late 1940s.

The Review
A United Kingdom does more than tug on the heart strings. It takes us through despair and frustration, anger and futility as we witness the true story of how Prince Seretse Khama fought for both his country, which he loved deeply, and for Ruth Williams, the English office clerk whom he loved equally. The film takes on a painful journey fueled by politics and betrayal during the early 1940’s, the eve of South Africa’s Apartheid when not only the native people of South Africa were affected by apartheid’s cruel embargo, but also those in the neighbouring African countries.

Here is a story which is quite remarkable and left me and the audience both stunned and inspired by the true story of how Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana broke tradition and the racial line of segregation by marrying a white English girl. A single act that made her not only the queen of a Black nation but also an international embarrassment to England who at the time sought to strengthen its economic ties with South Africa in spite of South Africa’s intentions of racial segregation. Their marriage would not only be seen as an interracial disgrace but would also threaten Great Britain’s trade agreements. However, what this marriage did do was to expose England’s inherent racial discrimination at the very highest level.  

A United Kingdom provides a very strong platform for several actors and actresses to deliver very convincing performances. David Oyelowo, who plays Prince Seretse Khama, is absolutely outstanding in the role. There were several times during the film that his work had the audience, including myself, spellbound. I would even go so far as to say that his performance is one of the best that I have seen in this type of role. I would not be surprised at all to see his name up for awards in the future.

Rosamund Pike is perfectly cast as Ruth, Khama’s love interest, who is also equal to the task providing a solid balance to an almost impossible situation. Nicholas Lyndhurst makes an interesting appearance as Ruth’s father. He plays a rather serious character which is a big change from his earlier television work on the popular British comedy, ‘Only Fools and Horses’ as Del Boy. Possible an image he will never truly shake.

The pace of this film is quite quick at times which is often the case with true stories as they have so much to fit in, in such a short time. However, it does take its time for various key scenes so I didn’t feel rushed.

The Verdict
Be prepared to be moved. David Oyelowo’s performance should blow you away as he is right on point. The story line is well constructed and told. The fact that it’s based on a true story left me ‘gob-smacked’ and full of questions. Although this is a drama and in no-way intended as a political movie, it does raise more than a few concerns of a political nature. About Prince Khama and his wife Ruth, I believe Nelson Mandela referred to them as a role model for the rest of Africa. Definitely a movie of value which I gladly recommend.  

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 8th December 2016
Rating: M – Contains violence
Duration: 111 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, Tom Felton, Laura Carmichael
Director: Amma Asante (Belle)

The Extras
The actual Prince Seretse Khama's grandson makes a brief appearance in the movie.

Reunites David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike from Jack Reacher (2012).

Is scheduled to film in Botswana and London for two months. (Oct. 2015)

Bits and pieces of this story is told in Alexander McCall Smith's best selling "Number 1 Ladies Detective" series.

Jazz swing favourite Adam Topliss has been cast in an undisclosed role.