There's a not insignificant legacy of terrible movies about poor brown kids being taught out of poverty by godly white people like Sandra Bullock. Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe isn’t one of those movies. Queen of Katwe’s protagonist — a Ugandan tween named Phiona — dominates at chess with the help of a teacher, yes, but that teacher is a Black, Ugandan one, Robert (David Oyelowo). Robert teaches the slum kids chess because these kids are fighters, and chess is a game for fighters. Families looking for a not-cartoon movie to see together should know, however, that it isn’t a fast movie. It’s not short, either, but if “not racist” and “for smart kids” is your family’s deal, Queen of Katwe might be a movie for you (124 min.).
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