“A United Kingdom”
With this movie, David Oyelowo gives another fantastic performance in a film based on a true story. With his heartwarming performances in last year’s “Queen of Katwe” and the earlier “Selma” (2014), Oyelowo hits a cinematic triple crown with his captivating performance in “A United Kingdom.”
Here, he plays Seretse Khama, a king-in-waiting in Botswana who has been studying in England. The year is 1947, and his life becomes incredibly complicated when he marries Ruth Williams, a white working-class English woman. Rosamund Pike matches Oyelowo’s performance in her role as Ruth, and it makes you forget her tormented role as the wretched wife in “Gone Girl” (2014).
Our interracial couple is jeered and condemned in England, and Ruth’s father swears that he will never talk to her again. Ironically, when they fly to Africa so that Seretse can assume the throne, important people in his country have no use for a ruler married to a white woman.
At its core, this is a moving love story about a couple who will assume all risks given their dedication to each other. Their unashamed joy in each other’s arms will bring a smile to your face and an occasional tear to your eye. This is an inspirational movie on multiple levels.
This story captures the racism permeating Britain at the end of World War II. The government in South Africa was just gaining a firm foothold, resulting in apartheid spreading into neighboring countries like Botswana. In other words, if a European government wanted to maintain colonial control in African countries that contained enormous mineral deposits, then accepting apartheid seemed like a small price to pay.
The governmental leaders in Britain from Winston Churchill on down appear disgustingly shameful. For example, they had no problem with luring Seretse to London where he was banned from returning to his homeland by an order signed by Churchill himself. Forcing Seretse to live on a different continent from his wife and small daughter who were left behind in Africa didn’t seem to remotely bother a single British official.
As in “Queen of Katwe,” the end of this film allows you to see pictures of our hero and heroine as they appeared in real life. In addition, it is also worth remembering that Oyelowo, a British citizen, is married to a white actress, Jessica, who also appeared in this film. They have been married for 18 years and have four children.
Oyelowo is an actor who deserves recognition on the national stage.
With “Get Out,” Jordan Peele has made his directorial debut in a nasty little movie that combines horror and racism. Known as one-half of the comedy team Key and Peele, he clearly appears comfortable in the director’s chair.
The movie tells the story of Chris, a young black man (Daniel Kaluuya) who accepts his white girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) invitation to visit her wealthy parents living on an isolated country estate. He regrettably swallows his concerns when she tells him that her parents do not know that she is dating a black man. Right then and there you know trouble is waiting around the corner.
Her parents, played with chilling detachment by Bradley Whitford and the great Catherine Keener, seem quite outgoing at first. Dad tells Chris that he would have voted for Obama if he had been allowed to run for a third term, while mom offers to hypnotize him to help him quit smoking.
Things start to get dark quite quickly. Employed by the parents are two extraordinarily odd-acting black servants (played in chilling fashion by Betty Gabriel and Marcus Henderson), and their actions are borderline freakish. It becomes increasingly clear that black visitors to this stately mansion face a transformation with ghastly consequences.
Last year, Key and Peele appeared in the raucous dark comedy “Keanu,” where they had to impersonate gangland killers as they tried to get back a stolen cat. The humor of the film flowed from the fact that both were completely clueless on how to function on the streets. It was as if they were two white guys from a southern Indiana town performing in a remake of “Straight Outta Compton.”
Though this film morphs into a great horror movie, Peele doesn’t forget the need to add a few comic touches. Here, Lil Rel Howery plays Rob, a hysterical TSA agent who questions his friend’s sanity and judgment. You frequently laugh out loud while descending into a state of fear.
Whether you like horror movies or not, this movie delivers a racist theme that can’t be overlooked. It’s as if a segment of our white society considers the goal of diversity to be found in surgically helping black Americans act white. Interested?•
Robert Hammerle practices criminal law in Indianapolis at Pence Hensel LLC as of counsel. When he is not in the courtroom or the office, Bob can likely be found at one of his favorite movie theaters. To read more of his reviews, visit www.bigmouthbobs.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.