I liked both movies, but I felt “A United Kingdom” was more challenging than “Loving.” Both these movies involve mixed marriages at the worst possible time periods. This one, set in 1947, involves the first Botswana President and a white Englishwoman being married, much to the anger of the people of Botswana and England. It’s the acting, determination, and challenges that keeps you watching.
David Oyelowo is “Selma” riveting as Seretse Khama, the rightful heir to the throne, and Rosamund Pike is amazing as Ruth Williams, a clerk from the U.K. They fall in love with each other, and just as his uncle Tshekedi (a powerfully acted Vusi Kunene) tells him to come home for his coronation, he pops the question to Ruth, and they marry. Of course, that’s kind of a problem, since back then, mixed marriages were risky. Seretse risks his thrown and Ruth risks her father’s (Nicholas Lyndhurst) love for her.
Among the other difficulties, Seretse is sentenced to be exiled from his home country, Ruth has his child, and without his people’s consent, a mining company is drilling their land for diamonds. When you’re sitting down watching them deal with these problems, you watching the challenges and performances from Oyelowo, Pike, and Kunene.
“A United Kingdom” is directed by Amma Asante, who made “Belle,” and written by Guy Hibbert, who also wrote last year’s “Eye in the Sky.” Here, they narrate the true story with the kind of intention it deserves. I didn’t understand everything the movie offered, but I still ate up the movie’s magic. “Loving” was a profoundly acted film, but this one is better.