Saturday movie review: A United Kingdom

Many of us common folk — those of us who have no royal blood running through our veins — consider the lives of kings and queens, princes and their princesses charmed existences. Perhaps most especially when it comes to love, romance, and fulfilling one's heart's desire with a special someone.

The reality, though, as we have learned from Princess Diana's unforgettable (and often sensationalized) story, The Crown series on Netflix, and other dramatic depictions based on true tales of royal romances make it clear such stations in life may be more of a royal pain — particularly when it comes to love and romance.

A United Kingdom film

A UNITED KINGDOM is the most recent film I've seen on the plight of one's allegiance to a crown or country conflicting with what one's heart and soul desires above all else in the world. It's the beautifully told true story of King Seretse Khama of Botswana (David Oyelowo), a black king-in-waiting who fell in love with an English white woman (Rosamund Pike as Ruth Williams) in 1947. Nearby South Africa was just putting into place the laws of apartheid, and the interracial marriage led to outrage by those Khama would lead and governments on both sides, as well as the couple's families.

Though their initial love affair and head-over-heels love for one another seemed a swoon-worthy fantasy, the reality proved heartbreaking, rife with hardship sure to destroy even the strongest marital bonds. Yet the soon-to-be king and his chosen queen stood strong for one another — and his crown and country — against all odds.


Oyelowo and Pike had a tender chemistry which made the telling of this extraordinary love story amid political turmoil — a story of which I had no idea about prior to watching the movie — especially moving and memorable. The actors depicted the real-life love between Khama and Williams with such heart and conviction, it made me want to learn more about the couple.

A United Kingdom film

This featurette provides a bit more insight on the couple and their place in history... as well as the film:

A UNITED KINGDOM (rated PG-13 "for some language including racial epithets and a scene of sensuality") opened in U.S. theaters in February 2017. The romance/drama/biography from Fox Searchlight Pictures is now available on HD streaming, DVD, and Blu-ray.

Disclosure: I received a code to stream this movie free for review; opinions are my own.