Parents' Guide to

Queen of Katwe

By Yvonne Condes, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Inspiring true tale of girl Ugandan chess champ.

Movie PG 2016 124 minutes
Queen of Katwe Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 16 parent reviews

age 12+

age 10+

Inspiring tale of a strong spirited girl

The story presents the hardships of being poor, the inspiration of a hard working teacher, the persistence of a brilliant girl who becomes a chess champion. Also the community support and celebration of the girl's achievements. Great family movie for us and our 11-year-old girl.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (16 ):
Kids say (13 ):

Directed by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding), this inspiring drama manages to both capture the hardship of living in a Ugandan slum and work as a feel-good Disney movie. Nalwanga is subtle and powerful as Phiona, a girl who's just learning what's possible -- and also realizing how difficult it will be to rise above her circumstances. It's a movie about chess, but it's also about struggle, and the messages it's trying to send aren't subtle: You can do anything if you try and have love and support. But Queen of Katwe isn't just Phiona's story, and that's party of why it's so good. Her widowed mother, Harriet (Nyong'o), struggles to keep the family fed and sheltered while also keeping her dignity. And Oyelowo is lovely as the coach trying to keep the chess team going -- fighting to get funding and opportunities -- while at the same time feeling a responsibility to provide for his own family.

Families will have so much to talk about after watching this film. It doesn't "Disney-fy" the hardships of being poor in Uganda. There's a terrifying scene in which a boy is run over by a motorcycle and another when a toddler is almost swept away by a flood after rain drenches his roofless shelter. That kind of stuff makes the movie a bit too intense for younger elementary schoolers, but tweens and up should definitely see it. It's a hopeful glimpse into someone else's world that they might not know about. Phiona is a real person, and at the end of movie you get to see the people the actors portrayed and what's become of them since the end of the story -- an extra dash of inspiration.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate