A United Kingdom is a biographical romantic drama directed by Amma Asante which stares David Oyelowo as Sir Seretse Khama, Prince of Bechuanaland (Botswana), and Rosamund Pike as Ruth Williams Khama. The story is based on the true-life events detailing the interracial marriage between Seretse and Ruth in 1948 which at the time was highly controversial. They must defy the social and political unrest both in the United Kingdom and South Africa to stay together and lead Bechuanaland to independence.
My Knowledge and Expectation of A United Kingdom
I was going into A United Kingdom expecting, at the very least, good performances by David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike. They have proven in the past that they are great actors capable of delivering performances with great range and emotion. Certainly, Oyelowo was great in Selma and in Queen of Katwe which I recently reviewed.
Rosamund Pike herself gave a chilling performance in Gone Girl which really announced her to a wider audience as being a talented actress. Because of this, I was looking forward to seeing if this film would deliver good performances as well as deliver on the promise of giving us an uplifting story which was advertised in the trailers.
My Thoughts on A United Kingdom
On the whole, I would say that A United Kingdom does achieve this. It has its flaws but it is a very decent, likeable film about love. What I liked most about the film was the relationship between Seretse and Ruth and that is solely down to the performances by David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike. They really give A United Kingdom a soul and it was nice to see Amma Asante bring the story about this couple to life. The supporting cast were good too but Oyelowo and Pike were the standouts and Asante deserves credit for crafting the film around them.
However, as I said, A United Kingdom has flaws. I felt that the first act, which focused on Seretse and Ruth’s blossoming relationship, was a bit rushed in its pacing. I would have liked to spend a bit more time focusing on their initial relationship. You can see that the film wants to get to the main story-line, which was their struggle of staying together and ruling Bechuanaland, as soon as possible.
Still, once we get there, A United Kingdom really finds its footing and delivers a captivating story about how their marriage was consistently hindered in the face of corrupt politics. Overall, while it has some flaws in its first act, A United Kingdom is a very decent film which is very easy to like and admire thanks to the good performances by David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike and its uplifting message.