Director Amma Asante made a name for herself in 2013 with her critically acclaimed Belle. In A United Kingdom, she returns to familiar territory with another racially-charged flick.
Based on a true story, Seretse Khama, Prince of Bechuanaland, falls in love with Londoner Ruth Williams shortly before heading back to his country to become king. Their interracial marriage is met with anger and hostility, and facing immense pressure from the British and South African governments, Seretse and Ruth must defy their naysayers and return to their country and assume power.
The story of Seretse and Ruth Williams Kharma is fascinating, and one that certainly needed telling – however Asante fails to do a satisfactory job of honouring the story, instead playing it safe by adhering to the stereotypes and clichés of its subjects and genre.
Instead of feeling engaged, moved or outraged at the racism and prejudice that the Kharmas are forced to endure, you’re left feeling bored due to the film’s poor structure. It’s horribly edited, scenes seem clunky and haphazardly put together and some of its scene transitions feel flat and abrupt.
The performances, whilst likeable, are weak. David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike just don’t seem to click and their relationship lacks charisma and chemistry.
Whilst Amma Asante might’ve impressed people with Belle, here she disappoints.