As the director of Mississippi Masala, The Namesake, and Monsoon Wedding, Mira Nair established herself as a filmmaker uniquely gifted at melding her Indian culture with crowd-pleasing romantic dramas of a sweeping of nature. Where she went wrong was by going away from that with the lukewarm biopic Amelia, and the underrated (at least to me) political thriller The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Her next film, Disney's Queen of Katwe, is another cultural love story, only it's about a Ugandan girl's passion for chess.
The first trailer and colorful poster have debuted for Queen of Katwe, serving as a reminder that Disney occasionally makes movies that aren't Star Wars, Marvel, or fairy tale adaptations. Sometimes they make feel-good films like this, telling the true tale of Phiona Mutesi (newcomer Madina Nalwanga), a Ugandan chess prodigy who rises in the ranks among the best players in the world. Lupita Nyong'o co-stars as Phiona's mother, while David Oyelowo is the missionary whose work gave her the opportunity to succeed.
Queen of Katwe opens September 23rd, and it will be very interesting to see how this one plays so close to awards season.