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August 1, 2017

A United Kingdom-Movie Review

I must confess I don’t watch a lot of movies, I much prefer to read a book. However, I was intrigued by the preview of this movie and I am a big fan of David Oyelowo (sigh).

I found the story fascinating. A true story in which the marriage between Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana and a white Londoner is thwarted by the British government as they try to curry favor with the South African government and maintain their supply of that country’s minerals. After I watched the movie I did some research on the history  of Botswana to try to separate fact from fiction. I wish I could say that the truth of the complicity and greed of these larger nations was shocking but I realised that the emotions I was feeling were the same emotions my grand children will feel when they learn the motives behind many of the decisions being made in the US government today.

My research left me impressed with Prince Seretse Khama, who was commended highly by the likes of Nelson Mandela for his role in keeping Botswana independent of South Africa and free of apartheid. He ended the royal succession and peacefully instituted democracy in his country. He was not a particularly prolific orator which may be part of the reason that his deeds remain in obscurity.

Frankly, I thought that the movie was pretty awful. They were not able to properly convey the passage of time and so the ten plus years it took for Seretse’s situation to be resolved felt like a much shorter time. Even the courtship between Seretse and his wife Ruth was made to feel like a whirlwind courtship when in fact it took place over a period of a year. In addition, although the movie was set partially in Botswana there were only five black characters with speaking parts–Seretse, a friend of Seretse’s in London, his uncle, the uncle’s wife, and Seretse’s sister. The rest of the Botswana people seemed relegated to a single mass moving with one mind.

While I don’t recommend the movie, if it will encourage more people to research the history of Botswana then it may be worth a watch.

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