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Stars: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Tom Felton, Laura Carmichael, Terry Pheto, Jessica Oyelowo, Arnold Oceng, Anton Lesser, Anastasia Hille, Jack Lowden, Nicholas Lyndhurst

Director: Amma Asante

In 1947, law student Seretse Khama, the king of Botswana (then the British protectorate of Bechuanaland) and white London officer Ruth Williams met and fell in love in London. Their decision to marry caused an international uproar, and, more unfortunately, distressed their respective families.

It did not help, either, that the South African government had introduced apartheid and patently did not promote mixed marriages. And, appalled by the marriage, their government put commercial (Britain’s access to South African diamonds and uranium were considered to be trump cards) and political pressure on the United Kingdom

Unfortunately director Amma Asante’s movie essentially resembles the kind of inherently propagandist movies so often inflicted on pupils who were sentenced to be captive audiences during their schooldays.

Oyelowo and Pike deserve credit for delivering performances that are rather more than just passably impactful despite the by-numbers storyline.

The Colonial British are appropriately demeaned, with strong (if clichéd) performances by turns led by Davenport as a snide Colonial Office official while the local inhabitants of Bechuanaland/Botswana get the full tourist-pictorial treatment, while white residents are rightly spitefully mocked years after British colonialism finally ended.

Alan Frank

USA/UK/Czech Republic 2016. UK Distributor: Pathe . Colour.
105 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 20 Mar 2017

DVD review