Keep It Reel: ‘A United Kingdom’

By Marc Woodfork

“A United Kingdom” tells the incredible true story of Seretse Khama, the king of Botswana in 1947.  While studying in London, he meets and falls in love with an office worker named Ruth Williams.  Due to the interracial aspect of their relationship, the imminent marriage was considered inappropriate to both of their families and to both their governments.  King Seretse is played marvelously by David Oyelowo and Ruth Williams is played by the beautiful Rosamund Pike.

Although the chemistry between David and Rosamund lacks bite, the performances are fantastic.  The story takes place at a time when apartheid was taking root and interracial relationships were shunned and flat out illegal.  It didn’t matter that Seretse Khama was a legitimate head of state.  This film is timely, inspiring and can appeal to everyone.

The film does well to balance the romance with the politics without becoming self-serving or allowing itself to be overcome with forced sentimentality.  It’s a remarkable story that most people have never heard of.  The movie is evenly mixed with laughter, tension, and for some tears.  It’s a story worth knowing and one that holds relevance.

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