Black Girls Watch A United Kingdom?

The other night, I had the pleasure of attending an  special screening of the Fox Searchlight movie, A United Kingdom starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike at Cedar Lee in Cleveland Heights.

The movie is a based on a true-life romance between Seretse Khama, Prince of Bechuanaland (now Botswana) and a London office worker, Ruth Williams. If you like feel-good movies, then this one is for you.

Seretse and Ruth fall in love, but are soon faced with many challenges because of their interracial relationship, including acceptance of their marriage from British and African cultures. The movie is about how they triumph over cultural and political barriers that are designed to keep them apart. Imagine too because this story takes place in the pre-apartheid era, that their union causes a sensational uproar.

I’m not going to give the plot away. I think it’s best if you see if for yourself. I'll say that both Oyelowo and Pike play strong characters that demonstrate how love can conquer hate. I was especially impressed with Oyelowo’s performance toward the end of the film as he gave a moving speech to his countrymen on top of a car. And Pike's strength when faced with rejection.

It’s a well-made movie, and easy to forget that it’s based on a true story. When they showed the real photos of Seretse and Ruth, I was reminded of this.

Here are a few interesting points of the movie:

  • I’ve never given much thought to British racism in the 1940s and 50s. What Seretse and Ruth experienced in England didn’t seem much different than what I’ve known to happen in the states during that time. We often hear that race relations were and are better in Europe.

  • There was a call to action actually from the “American Negro Press” to send the Prince home after his exile from his country. Members of the Parliament encouraged the Prime Minister to consider the call to action.

  • I don’t think it was a “great white hope” movie, where a white person "saves" the poor black folk. I thought it showed how two cultures could come together to achieve results that benefit the collective.

There’s more to this movie than I can put in this post. I recommend you watch it for yourself. And if you do, please share your thoughts about the film in the comments below.

Opened in the US February 10, 2017

Rated PG-13

Director: Amma Asante