Cinema Review: A United Kingdom


Posted November 23, 2016 in Cinema Reviews

BIMM may-june 22 – Desktop

A United Kingdom

Director: Amma Asante

Talent: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Tom Felton

Released: 25th November

In 1947, Seretse Khama (Oyelowo) and Ruth Williams (Pike) meet in a London Missionary club and fall in love, for some reason. Seretse is in line to be king of Bechuanaland (Botswana nowadays), so has to return to rule. Much to the disdain of Ruth’s father, the UK government, Seretse’s uncle and the people of Bechuanaland, the pair marry, then move to a romantic, idealised version of Africa. The film simply races through the racism, the far-reaching machinations of British colonialism and, furthermore, how the couple overcome those hurdles.

South Africa, in the process of implementing apartheid, is especially unhappy with the marriage, so in the hopes of maintaining a good diplomatic relationship, the British government banish Seretse and set about controlling the country, but they all live happily ever after. The goings-on in Bechuanaland take a back seat to Ruth and Seretse’s at times twee relationship, meaning the tribespeople of Bechuanaland serve as a mere backdrop, rather than actual people affected by poverty and British rule.

Words – Sarah Taaffe Maguire

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