Based on a true story: In Uganda a young girl (Madina Nalwanga) shows extraordinary chess playing skills, thought an unusual trait for girls and the poor. Encouraged and challenged to succeed by her brother and mentors, she hones her skills against chauvinistic boys, rich snobs, and international chess masters. Also with David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o, Martin Kabanz and Taryn Kyaze. Directed by Mira Nair. Several lines of dialogue are in an Ugandan language with English subtitles. [2:04]
SEX/NUDITY 2 - A husband kisses his wife on the cheek a few times, they lie on a bed (clothed) and he pretends to have pain (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), and the scene ends. A husband kisses his wife briefly in two scenes. A man invites a woman to go to a hotel for dinner and nearly kisses her, but she pulls away and does not go with him.
► A teen girl leaves her home to live with a boyfriend, and she returns home, alone and pregnant; we see her later holding a baby.
► A woman is pulled by a man roughly into a building, among other men, and prostitution is vaguely implied (we do not see anything else). A 12-year-old girl remarks sadly that men will be coming for her (implied for prostitution). At age 14 a girl says that men will be coming after her soon, but this does not occur. A single mother slaps her teen daughter in the face and tells her to go have children she cannot pay for, her daughter says, "Like you," and the mom says, "God sees what you do." A man says to a woman in a street market, "I'll give you something for free when you give me something for free (sex implied)"; she spits white phlegm that we see into the road, and says, "That's free."
► A few scenes show women wearing scoop necked blouses and tank tops that reveal cleavage. Three preteen boys briefly appear shirtless.
VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - A young boy is run over by a motorbike in a hit-and-run and he is shown semi-conscious, face up in dirt with a large cut bleeding on one cheek until another biker takes him to a clinic and we see the boy on a gurney with his left leg exposed to the hip and a large bloody wound on the mid-thigh; the boy screams several times as a doctor stitches the wound and we see the doctor's hand approach the open cut, but do not see stitching.
► A family moves into an abandoned church that has no walls and is falling down and a violent rainstorm causes a flood; a boy toddler in a hammock is washed into flood waters where he cries and hangs onto a rope until his mother wades through thigh-high water and saves him.
► A girl chokes a boy (he shouts in pain) until a man pulls her off and she says that she will pull the boy's nose right off his head. A woman slaps her teen daughter in the face and shouts at her for leaving her little brother, and then rips up some of the girl's clothing. A hospital official demands that a woman bring money to him and walks away; the woman yanks an IV needle from her son's hand, he yelps and she and his pre-teen sister help him to stand and stumble as the family flees into the streets.
► Dirt and muddy roads run through a slum made of buildings constructed of dirty plywood, cardboard and crate slats with some homes having large holes in the roofs and missing a wall or two. A single mom of four is exhausted and irritable all the time, having to sell corn on the streets with her two pre-teen children to earn a living; her children seldom are able to eat.
► A family flees a clinic and arrives home to find a chain and padlock on their door where the landlady has thrown their possessions out into the street as the mother cries, begs, and shows the woman her son, who was severely injured and can hardly stand. A woman with her son, daughter, and toddler son is next shown stumbling in a street during the night and they sleep in an alley on packing crate-like materials.
► Two street market scenes show men and women leaning into car windows to sell things like corn, bottled soda, water, food, trinkets and sunglasses; they shout and talk fast and some drivers shout at them to go away.
► A woman storms into a chess club and pulls her pre-teen daughter and young son out by their ears as they grunt in pain; she shouts at the coach, accusing him of using the kids to gamble and storms away with her children. A teen girl and her mother argue about chess and chores. Several arguments occur between elementary school-aged boys and a girl; some disagreements becoming heated. A woman remarks to another woman on a street that a certain boy kicks girls; the second woman walks out to a stopped motorcyclist and kicks him hard in one thigh (he grunts), telling him to stay away from her teen daughter, and then she turns around and shouts at her teen daughter and the man rides away. A teen girl beats a teen boy in chess and he nervously breaks a pencil and knocks over chess pieces. After losing a chess match a teen girl runs out into the snowy streets of a Russian city and cries; her coach catches up with her and she cries more loudly as the scene ends.
► We hear that a single mother of four lost her husband and a child to unnamed diseases in Uganda. A wealthy man grimaces and states that the children of the slum may have diseases. A rich teen boy tells a teen girl from Katwe that her town is a "ghetto." A husband joins a ministry to coach youth soccer and chess; his wife berates him for playing soccer for money to donate to the kids, citing and old injury he had. A husband pretends to have pain in his neck and his wife pokes him, laughing. A tearful man recounts that he lived in the bush and his father already had a wife and family when his teen mother became pregnant, so he was passed around to her family members; he met her when he was six, lived with her for two years, and she died (no cause is mentioned).
► At a chess tournament, two young boys and a young girl cry before they enter the playing floor; during play, the girl has hiccups and when she loses, she cries and wails loudly and shouts, "He took my queen!" before her coach carries her out quickly as people stare. Guessing, a young boy says that he thinks chess is a sport in which you cut people. A young girl says that chess pieces "kill each other."
► Two teen boys mock a teen girl, telling her that she smells bad and waving their hands at the air around her; one of the boys "oinks" at her several times. A young girl tells a teen girl to go away because she has a bad smell. A teen girl beats teen boys at chess and they are embarrassed; one of the boys goes to a corner and cries, another boy shouts at her. At a chess tournament at a rich school, a teen girl's male opponent shakes hands with her and wipes his hand on the tablecloth. A man says to a woman in a street market, "I'll give you something for free when you give me something for free (sex implied)"; she spits white phlegm that we see into the road, and says, "That's free."
► A young boy is shown with a cut that looks stitched shut on one cheek and a large amount of gauze on his elbow shows three spots of blood. At a clinic, a man sits with a very tall cervical collar around his neck and a sling on his left arm.
PROFANITY 1 - 1 mild scatological term, name-calling (hyena, pile of tin, slum children, stubborn, corn boy, hussy, silly, superior, Richie Riches, Madame), 9 religious exclamations (Oh My God, God, My God, Thank God). [profanity glossary]
SUBSTANCE USE - A boy in a clinic has an IV needle taped to the back of his hand and a doctor says the clinic is out of pain medications. A man in a café drinks a beverage from an amber bottle that looks like a beer bottle (we cannot see the label).
DISCUSSION TOPICS - Uganda, slums, poverty, prostitution, the rich, private school students, family social status and rank, inequality, pride, overconfidence, considering the situations of others, chess competitions, determination, courage, sacrifice, winning, respect, trust, hope, family, conflict, reconciliation.
MESSAGE - Enthusiasm and intellect are alive and well among the lower economic classes in the slums of Uganda.