TIFF 2016 Review: A United Kingdom
A United Kingdom tells the true story of Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), the first president of Botswana and his rise to the top. When in London, Seretse falls in love with a white woman named Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike). At the time, it was frowned upon, and they received so much opposition and hate. Once married, they returned to Bechuanaland and met with criticism from both the British government and the people in his native country. Through determination and perseverance, they see their marriage and country through some difficult times and bring them into an age of democracy.
The story is inspirational and touching. It is a story of love, honor, change, and determination. The performances by Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo are electrifying. They are emotional and touching. The speeches in the film are riveting and filled with such conviction and emotion. David Oyelowo has some incredibly tense and beautiful scenes. One that sticks out, in particular, is the one where he must inspire his tribe not to denounce him as king. A tear begins to roll down his face, and my goosebumps began and didn’t go away until the end of the film. He is so genuine and dedicated in this film. Rosamund Pike is phenomenal as well. She and David have so much chemistry that it just resonated with the audience. Within the speeches of the film, there are so many inspirational quotes that are important, especially today. One in particular I loved was, “Africa can never be free until all realize race must have no bearing on equality.”
Visually, the film is magnificent. There are beautiful landscapes and sweeping shots of Africa that are absolutely breathtaking. Along with those wonderful landscapes, the film accentuates the love between Seretse and Ruth with beautifully intimate shots as well. A scene on the porch where they are holding each other is just amazing. The light is perfect and is a masterpiece in itself. The costume design is very beautiful as well, with amazing colors and styles that make the film come alive.
A United Kingdom is everything you could want in a film. It is a beautiful love story, with an inspirational story, and stellar performances. It is a timeless tale that will be loved for generations.