This PG-rated film is for folks who love David v Goliath stories (I'm one of them). Award-winning director Mira Nair ("The Namesake") brings us the true story of a girl from Uganda who learns to play chess. Our screening audience had a BIG representation of children. I don't know if they were in chess clubs or what, but you could have heard a pin drop any time during the movie's 123-minute running time.
Based on Tim Crother's biographical book by the same name, screenwriter William Wheeler's screenplay brings us all the tension of a high-stress sport, the upbeat training of a would-be winner, and the exultation of watching someone come from nowhere to challenge the best of the best.
Many many things ring true: At their first competition, our country mice have anxiety attacks when confronted by the wealth and snobbery of the city mice; they have yet to master the self-control the other chess players demonstrate. I loved how people would growl at each other when provoked and I wish I could figure out how they pop their fingers; it is unique and effective. So is the way these events change the players, making it a challenge to go back home again and try to fit in.
This is Mira Nair's movie, so you can expect a wonderful series of curtain calls, as each actor with his or her name on display is joined by the "real" person with his or her name. In addition, she includes a brief update on the principals' lives since the events we just saw. Of course as soon as this is concluded, they all join in with a song and dance. Pure Bollywood! We love Mira.