Film Review: A United Kingdom @ London Film Festival 2016
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★★★☆☆ A United Kingdom is a hidden gem of a story, one which few have heard of, but many have felt the impact of. The charming yet powerful love story follows English woman Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) and King of Bechuanaland (modern day Botswana) Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), as they fall for each other despite the forbidden circumstances of their love. Directed by diversity advocate Amma Asante, the film, shot in Botswana and London, is an incredible tale of a love that shook two nations - yet saw those at the heart of it struggle through against all odds. Right from the offset, we see the spark ignited between Ruth and Seretse; an instinctual love that is willing to power through the racial prejudices that restrict both of them from marrying and being accepted in each other's native countries. Jumping straight into the heart of the narrative makes the film engaging right from the start - and even though we don't know much about these people, their love is so mesmerising and genuine that it's so easy to fall in love with the story and characters right at the beginning. As a unique story it's one that is uniquely told; it does not follow the conventions of most films about race, avoiding the N word and predictable insults, thus allowing the main plot to be explored in greater depth, rather than trying to shock the audience about the attitudes towards black people in 1940s Britain, which we are already well aware of.
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