One of Disney’s longest-running but less-heralded side businesses has long been the inspirational live-action drama. Typically stories of either athletes or everyday heroes, they’re for an older audience who used to be awash in this kind of thing in past decades, and have now largely been abandoned by modern trends. But there’s still a place in film for stories of factual achievement, and viewers who will go out of their way to seek them out.
And as these films go, it’s hard to find one with a better pedigree than Queen of Katwe. Directed by Mira Nair, who’s flown under the radar in recent years but turning out steady, quality work, the film tells the true story of Phiona Mutesi (Lupita Nyong’o), an Ugandan woman who broke into the global competitive chess scene after picking up the game from a missionary (David Oyelowo). For the film’s boilerplate appearance, it’s a genuine underdog story with a fine cast that could prove effective well beyond expectations.
Queen of Katwe will hit theaters on September 30th. Check out the film’s trailer up top.