A United Kingdom (12A) – A Preview

Director: Amma Asante, UK, 2016, 111 mins

David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport

Although the love affair between Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams is at the centre of Amma Asante’s film, it is selling it short to call it a romance, for although Asante focuses on the challenges of mixed race marriage in the nineteen fifties, she does so to explore the wider issues of colonialism, prejudice and political manoeuvring.

David Oyelowo and Rosaline Pike are both excellent – and completely believable – as the Prince and his bride. He is a sweet man with fire in his belly, she is a legal secretary with extraordinary reserves of steely resolve. In Guy Hibbert’s even handed screenplay, they are up against the British establishment in the dying days of empire (brilliantly personified by an odious Jack Davenport) but also Khama’s own people .

In boiling down twenty years of struggle to less than two hours, Hibbert inevitably takes liberties with the facts of the case, but he does remain faithful to spirit of this heart-warming tale. Superbly filmed by Sam McCurdy, the film has an epic quality unusual in British films, and yet retains the intimacy required to tell the fundamentally simple story of a man that loved his country and a woman who left hers to love him.

By David Vass

Tickets for the film are available to book online here