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A United Kingdom - Film Review

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Published December 7th 2016
A love story; its beating heart steeped in political turmoil
a united kingdom, movie review, film review, actors, performing arts, community event, fun things to do, true stories, botswana, king seretse khama, david oyelowo, ruth williams khama, rosamund pike, british film, south africa, director amma asante
Images © Film United, Harbinger Pictures, Pathé, Perfect Weekend, Yoruba Saxon Productions

Based on the true life romance between Botswanan King Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) and his English wife, Ruth Williams, (Rosamund Pike), in the 1940s, A United Kingdom is directed by Amma Asante.

Running for 111 minutes, it's set in a time when blacks and whites were segregated and interracial marriages were frowned upon. Yet true love works hard in the face of fierce opposition to conquer disapproval from families of both parties and the obstacles of racism and politics from the United Kingdom and Botswana.


Essentially a love story of an African King who falls in love while studying in the UK; it also delves into the journey of an African country walking towards independence. There's a perfect balance between romance and the corridors of politics.

You'll agree as you watch the film, that you'll feel the frustrations faced by this couple in their fight to be together, as you walk the internal journey of Seretse. Love, a powerful force of nature is represented 'actually' in many ways, including through the strong support Seretse and Williams give each other, for growth is demanded in this grown up rites of passage.


This story, initially discovered by Oyelowo, took six years to bring to the screen. Both he and director Asante being African/British children born in Britain, wanted to ensure that the bicultural upbringing was reflected in the film. As Asante put it in an interview, 'my London met my Africa'.

Rosamund Pike has worked with David before in Jack Reacher and her quiet strength made her a strong choice for the part. One of the interesting pieces of trivia is that the hospital scene where the child is born was actually filmed where Seretse was born.

You'll be pleasantly surprised that this is far more than a soppy love story, and it definitely holds its place in a lineup of movies worth watching. Rosamund Pike is an acting force as always, and the slow build up of not just the frustrations, but those of acceptance and respect staves away from the usual Hollywood formula that ends in applause. It instead burns slowly and impacts deeply and will carry you along its river of emotions.

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Why? Film Review of United Kingdom
When: At cinemas around Christmas Eve 2016
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