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Chance to win movie bundles for A UNITED KINGDOM (OUT NOW!), the true story of an interracial marriage that inspired the world - read our reviews! NOW CLOSED

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AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 18-Nov-16 11:17:19

Ahead of the UK release of the acclaimed new film A UNITED KINGDOM on 25 November, around 30 lucky MNers were able to see a preview of the film.

Read on for their reviews.

If you didn't attend, there's a chance to win one of three movie bundle packs (containing a signed poster, a Bluray bundle - with Suffragette, Selma and Mandela as well as a copy of the book that the film is based upon), by sharing on this thread the most romantic thing you and your partner have ever done, the most extreme measure you or a partner have ever undertaken to be together or a story that inspires you where love has conquered all.

[5 star] (The Times)

From director Amma Asante (Belle), starring David Oyelowo (Selma) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) and set against the breath-taking backdrops of the African savannah and period London, A UNITED KINGDOM celebrates the inspiring real-life romance of Seretse Khama, King of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana), and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1948 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments. One of the greatest love stories ever told. Other cast includes Tom Felton (Harry Potter) and Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey).

Watch the trailer below

The film is on general release in Cinemas from 25 November- find out more and book your seats here: #AUnitedKingdom.

Attendees: all attendees who give feedback on the film will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will win a voucher, so for your chance to win a £100 John Lewis voucher, please give your film review below:

~ What are your general feelings about the film? What's your headline review? Please give your star rating from 1 to 5 stars where 5 star star star star star is brilliant and 1 star is poor (plus do add your rating in the box below left wink)

~ Who you attended the screening with (friend/ mother/ husband etc)? What did they think of the film?

~ And in terms of the story and themes in the film - what does this mean to you? To what extent do you think that attitudes towards interracial relationships and mixed race children have changed since the backlash that Ruth and Seretse faced in the 1940s?

Thanks and good luck with the prize draws.

Standard Insight T&Cs apply

nushcar Sun 20-Nov-16 14:28:26

1) I would give the film 5 stars, the story was well put-together, well acted and a story that I am so glad is being told and I got to understand. It is amazing this film hadn't been made earlier.

2) I went with my husband who was very glad he had seen the film and was the one to say it is amazing this story hasn't been made into a film earlier.

3) my husband and I are of different races and when I was younger -late 70s to early 80s in particular, racism was much more palpable then. Things have changed a lot since that time, but you do worry about resurgeance with political climate as it is. My parents had to break religious barriers, the next generation in our family had to break race barriers, so it was good to see how necessary it is to not be dictated to. It also demonstrated the importance of having a decent education ( law and politics in particular) to understand your rights and the government's decision making process. It is very inspiring.

Givemecoffeeplease Sun 20-Nov-16 14:46:26

4 stars! Attended with a friend.

Yes attitudes have changed - and thank goodness for that. However causal racism still exists, and post Brexit and Trump we have seen more nastiness come to the surface. It's like when you pull the carpet back, you realise the floor is rotten underneath. But if you'd never touched the carpet you'd have had no idea. So it was especially pertinent in these politically complex times.

Rosamond Pike was particularly good I thought, and I loved the fashions and the "old" London look.

Thanks for the screening!

Namechangeemergency Sun 20-Nov-16 14:49:50

I would give this film 5 stars.

I attended with my friend.

I have been in a mixed relationship for almost 30 years, as has my friend. This is one of the reasons I wanted to see the film. The other is that I am a total sucker for anything containing frocks, cardigans and sepia toned mid century interiors.
The fact that the story was fascinating, moving and historically important was a bonus.
The cinematography was beautiful, right up my street.
I found the depiction of London and constantly raining and cold a bit heavy handed but not enough to spoil it.
The lower middle class accents were ...interesting but again, not enough to spoil the film.

I found the film moving for personal reasons and because of the utter unfairness of our colonial past. It was funny in parts and there were bits where I was flicking Vs at the screen <immature>

In short. I BLOODY loved this film and it will be one that I watch again and again. It will go into my collection along with Mrs Miniver, Brief Encounter, Easy Virtue and all the 'frocks and cardis' movies that take me out of reality for a couple of hours.
Thank you so much for the tickets. This was such a nice way to end a horrible week.

I thought about declaring myself a MNer by yelling 'pom bears' but didn't want to get chucked out grin

MrsFilthPacket Sun 20-Nov-16 15:08:07

1. I'd give the film five stars. I really enjoyed it, and don't understand why a a film of the Khamas' lives hasn't been made before.

2. I'd intended to go with DH or DD1 but ended up going with the Whining Teen (aka DD2, who is 15). Once she had stopped moaning about having to get up so early and had been fortified by a gingerbread latte, she settled down and enjoyed the film as well. She was shocked by the scene where Setse and Ruth are attacked and didn't think that would happen now (especially Ruth being called a slut for being with a black man).

It also gave me the rage with the casual racism of the times (and made me think that it took things a long time to change - I worked in West Africa in the 1990s, and the racism there from the whites was phenomenal, particularly those from the former colonial powers - and I don't just mean the Brits). I think things are much better now, and hugely more accepting.

One of the reasons that I wanted to see the film was due to a woman I met in West Africa who had met her husband when he was studying law in London - she had married him against her parents'' wishes (her mother fainted when she told them she was marrying him!) and she had never heard from them again. She had several children, all but one of whom disappeared in the Biafran war. It was a shocking story, and this film made me think of her.

A close friend's uncle (who was also a friend of my great aunt) featured in the film as well, and I had no idea he had had any involvement in the Khamas' story, so this was also added interest for me!

Botswana's a bit of a success story in Africa, and it's a pity that a lot of other countries haven't managed to go the same route. Either they didn't have an early inspirational post-colonial leader, or they had one who was assassinated and it took longer to get on their feet.

Squeegle Sun 20-Nov-16 16:07:57

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ From me and DD age 14.
This was a very moving and emotional film which we both really enjoyed. The acting was phenomenal; it just felt that they were both so brave to do what they did. It was also a reminder about how the British colonial system was so inhuman at times. I was keen for DD to see it; she has no concept really of the lack of tolerance there used to be. I thought the cast was excellent, -as well as the main characters I loved seeing Jack Davenport being such a nasty piece of work.

I actually found myself crying a few times, the emotions were so strong and the frustration caused by the intransigence and blatant lying going on in the British Empire must have been tremendous. It's also very timely considering that a lot of the tolerance we all enjoy today seems to be under threat. Beautifully shot - I understand that they actually went and found the original home in which the couple lived and used it for the filming. It was all filmed in Botswana itself rather than neighbouring South Africa apparently. Loved it, thanks for the opportunity.

hotdiggedy Sun 20-Nov-16 16:50:24

5 stars awarded to this film!

I went along with a friend and we both enjoyed the squishy velvet chairs (is this the norm in cinemas? it felt very luxurious!)

We both thoroughly enjoyed the film. I had purposefully decided not to look into details about the film before we went to watch it so as not to spoil the 'surprise' so I was happy to see that the film was based on a true story. I have to admit, my knowledge of Botswana is quite non existent and so I had no idea that any of this had actually happened! It has prompted me to look further into the story though.

At parts of the film, I kept wondering why he hadn't been more careful in selecting his future wife. It was a huge gamble and while Ruth couldn't possibly have known what she was getting herself into the future King surely should have been more aware (though no doubt the film didn't go into all the finer details.) So I couldn't help but view him as a little selfish at some points.

I did think the film rang true and the story would be a familiar one to many people, myself included who has been disowned by certain family members for decades now due to similar choices I made. I did quietly shed a few tears at a number of points during the film as well as have a few laughs (the practicing of waving with the gloved hand!)

It was really nice to see the fashion of the 1940's and 50's and to see the homes people lived in.

I thought the main actress was very good. Actually, all the actors were very good and it was nice to see a few familiar faces on the screen. Jack Davenport was super, as was the actor who was in Harry Potter (don't know his name, sorry!)

How much have attitudes changed toward mixed marriages and the children they produce? Well, often I think that depends a lot on what part of the country you live in but I think that despite advances, we are still quite a racist country as a whole. A non white trying to get into the Royal family would no doubt cause a similar uproar as it did back then.

Highly recommended for all to see and many thanks for the opportunity to see it!

Mcstriving4leanie Sun 20-Nov-16 17:35:02

I would give this film 5 stars.

I went to see this film with my 14 yo dd.

We both thought the main characters David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike were beautifully cast and thoroughly convincing.
We loved that despite all the hurdles that this couple faced that love conquered all.

We laughed at times, cringed at others, felt our spines tingle and shed a tear or two with the emotional roller coaster feel of the film, only heightened as it was based on a true story.

In terms of how people of interracial relationship and mixed race children are treated now I like to think that people have moved on from the sheltered views of the 1940s and that attitudes have changed for the better. My dds best friend is of mixed race and when we discussed the theme of the film she said to me 'it's funny but I don't see her as having a different coloured skin to me I see her as a fabulous friend that I wouldn't be without'

If you get the chance go and see this film - it really is worth a watch.

notaflyingmonkey Sun 20-Nov-16 18:07:26

I'm gutted I didn't manage to go and see it today.

This film is important to me as I am in a mixed marriage, of over 20 years. My family refused to speak to me for years because I'd married a 'darkie'. My DH's family are strict Muslims living abroad, and were much more tolerant of me coming into their family. We now have two mixed race kids who are bilingual and can come and go between the cultures/families.

However I do fear for the future. I think that in some ways things are becoming more difficult again, with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric seemingly becoming the norm post-Brexit, and Trump's election.

Breadwidow Sun 20-Nov-16 18:13:15


Went to this on my own as my friend couldn't make it but it was totally worth the lone trip. The film was very inspiring indeed and tug at my emotions, I found myself in floods when Ruth is greeted my her parents, who had shunned her since her marriage, when she comes to England with their new granddaughter. It's visually stunning too, and I think worth seeing on the big screen for the stunning African landscapes.

So why 4 not 5 stars? I think I would have liked more info on why Churchill went back on his promise, in a similar way to how a short conversation between a young Tony Benn & Atlee gave an understanding of the complex relationship between Britain & South Africa. I also thought their victory in terms of what he gave up at first appeared a little underwhelming, and how long independence took to come. Perhaps to counter this we could have done with further info at the end on the success Botswana became.

Overall though it was great and really brings home to you how attitudes have changed for the better and how terrible things were then for mixed raced couples.

Trinidading3 Sun 20-Nov-16 18:28:31

This is definitely a 5 star film.

Went on my own.

Brilliantly cast actors, they made this film shine.
Very romantic touching film, brought tears to my eyes at times.
I am from mixed parentage and so glad times have moved on but there is still a lot of unacceptability of races mixing depending on the races and this film would definitely open the minds of the people that still have a taboo about mixed parentage.
Great film many more should be made addressing these issues raised.

AbbeyRoadCrossing Sun 20-Nov-16 18:55:52

starstarstarstar 4

Thank you mumsnet for picking me to see this. My friend and I really enjoyed it.

Overall I thought this film was excellent. I had no idea of these events having happened so have been reading up since. It's well acted and held my attention throughout. The reason I didn't give 5 stars are that some things are skimmed over such as Churchill's mind change. Although it must be hard to squash a story like that into 2 hours.
I'd recommend this film if you like historical films with heart.

I went with my friend whose parents are from an ex colonial country so this made for an interesting discussion afterwards about the British influence.

Racism today - we thought it's not as bad as it was then. Some of the scenes of not being able to walk down the street hopefully would not be commonplace now. Or 'whites only' signs and no alcohol for blacks - things like that has clearly changed. However we thought there's still racism and a lot to do in that respect.

Belo Sun 20-Nov-16 20:00:09

~ What are your general feelings about the film? What's your headline review?

My headline would be "A man will never be free unless he is his own master". I would give the film 4/5.

I thought the film felt a bit unbelievable to start with. They fell in love and were prepared to give up so much (on both sides) without appearing to have had that many conversations. Once they got back to Africa and Ruth started to show her strength of character the film really took off for me.

~ Who you attended the screening with (friend/ mother/ husband etc)? What did they think of the film?

I went to the screening with my daughter. She really enjoyed it and was so impressed by Ruth's strength and courage.

~ And in terms of the story and themes in the film - what does this mean to you? To what extent do you think that attitudes towards interracial relationships and mixed race children have changed since the backlash that Ruth and Seretse faced in the 1940s?

I knew nothing of the forming of Botswana so I found the story fascinating. I know a lot about South Africa having been involved in the anti-apartheid movement as a teenager. I thought they were very courageous to displease a powerful neighbour.

I think attitudes towards mixed race relationships have changed. Certainly within my age, and living in London, they are seen as being no different to any other relationships. However, my northern in-laws were not so happy with my brother-in-law married a Punjabi woman. Outside of London, amongst the older generation, I think it's still a long way to go.

ataraxia Sun 20-Nov-16 20:42:19

Like others, I enjoyed the film (and the comfy seats)!

4 stars.

Very well-made with great use of colour - cool blues and greys for post-war UK and warms yellows and oranges for Africa.

Great actors (although I struggled to believe that Rosamund Pike's character was young enough to be evacuated in the war, and Nicholas Lyndhurst's appearance reminded me quite strongly of Goodnight Sweetheart!!)

I thought it was a really interesting story - it made me want to find out more and I'd like to see an in-depth documentary about it, to see exactly which parts were real-life versus creative license.

I say that because some parts seemed a little rushed i.e. the idea that someone would make such a momentous decision after a couple of good dances and a walk along the Thames. That may be how it happened but it sort of seemed a bit 'Hollywood'. Same with the idea that she won over the local women by carrying a few buckets of water. I suspect from the epilogue that there was a lot more of an evolutionary relationship and a wide-ranging involvement in community life.

I was particularly impressed with the scene where the Labour politician explained the complex geo-political underpinnings of what seemed to be a policy that's the antithesis of Labour ideology - seemed a very succinct what of explaining the bigger picture and more nuanced than I would tend to expect in a mainstream film. However, I thought it came a little late in the move, after it had already been painted without shades of grey as pandering to South Africa and racism, wand where the two slightly cartoony colonial bad guys were sort of scene as acting alone capriciously.

I think it's important it was made and, sadly, there seem to be some parallels with our times with elements of casual racism - then again it's good for some perspective, society has come a long way in a relatively short period.

I was really getting into it towards the end and was surprised it finished when it did - was interested to see how much opposition there would be to independence, especially after the resources were discovered.

I was hoping to attend with a friend who writes at length about representation in the media and think she would have had some fascinating insights. Sadly she was taken ill that morning and couldn't attend.

Olinguito Sun 20-Nov-16 23:15:07

I attended this film with a female friend and we both really enjoyed it - 5 stars.

We found the story really interesting, and have read up on it afterwards, as neither of us were aware of this bit of history. The issues raised were thought-provoking and the story was inspiring.

The two lead actors were well cast, and their relationship was convincing. The cinematography was beautiful and the period details were well observed. The film was well paced, although obviously the story was simplified in places to fit it into 2 hours.

I hope society has moved on considerably regarding matters of race and inter-racial relationships, but fear that the current climate is indicating that we still have a long way to go.

TenaciousOne Mon 21-Nov-16 11:59:12

What are your general feelings about the film? What's your headline review? Please give your star rating from 1 to 5 stars where 5 star star star star star is brilliant and 1 star is poor

starstarstarstar from me. Well thought out, hard to watch at points but that's the point. Since watching the film it has prompted me to read about the actual story. Although I think it's also important to remember this isn't just history, it still happens. I'm impressed they showed the issues they faced over in Africa, I however felt that the racism from England was minimised. It was shown more as a political issue not as a race issue and it was both.

Who you attended the screening with (friend/ mother/ husband etc)? What did they think of the film?
I attended with my grandmother who was very impressed with the film. She felt it accurately represented the issues of the time especially the scene when they were both attacked. Her words: Excellent film, well made and the actors were good.

And in terms of the story and themes in the film - what does this mean to you? To what extent do you think that attitudes towards interracial relationships and mixed race children have changed since the backlash that Ruth and Seretse faced in the 1940s?

They have improved but not where they should be. The children are still in a no mans land in terms of not truly being accepted by either side.

Floweringcactus Mon 21-Nov-16 14:29:39

A big fat five stars.
I saw this film with my husband and he enjoyed this as much as I did, despite his usual predilection for action and sci-fi movies. He particularly enjoyed the performances of some of the actors in smaller roles, such as Seretse’s aunt.
Set against the contrasting backdrops of post-War London and heat shimmering Africa, it is, ultimately, a love story between two people whose backgrounds could not have been more different but who shared a passion, for one another and for his country which became hers too.
David Oyelowo is a terrific actor, portraying Seretse as a man possessing strength and idealism, but also tenderness and love for both Ruth and Botswana. I have read that one criticism his family have of the film is that he was less emotional than this portrayal suggests.
This is a film strong on visual imagery, so the cool slightly remote Rosamund Pike was cast to contrast with Oyelowo’s passion and physical power (symbolic opening shots of him boxing). Actually, I’d like to know how authentic that scene was – I’ve never heard any other reference to Seretse Khama being a boxer.
The authenticity of the locations and the evocative and often stunning cinematography are wholly absorbing and effective at capturing the feel of the places and the era.
I would like to hope that opinions have changed and that society is more accepting (and I certainly don’t think the UK government would ever again support the establishment of apartheid) but I suspect that there are many people who still hold many of the more abhorrent views expressed in the film.

Mumarelli123 Mon 21-Nov-16 14:37:03

5 stars. A brilliant movie!!

I took my teenage daughter who thoroughly enjoyed it as well.
The scenes of post-war London gave an insight into what life and attitudes were like back then. The backlash that Ruth and Seretse faced in the 1940's seem hard to believe now and serve as a reminder to us in modern times. The scenery from Botswana was amazing.

eddiemairswife Mon 21-Nov-16 15:09:00

I remember this happening. I was a child at the time, and my mother was very taken with the romance of the situation; she was also fascinated by the marriage of King Hussein of Jordan to an English woman. I think the attitude towards people of mixed race has improved enormously especially in our cities.

goldenretriever1978 Mon 21-Nov-16 15:35:44

A snapshot of a different time. I thought this was a very good film.

I watched it alone, so the views are my own!

I thought David Oleyowo was excellent, Rosamund Pike not so much. It is hard to believe what people had to endure not that long ago to be in a mixed race relationship. It didn't take much for them to want to be tied together though! Scenery in Botswana looked amazing. Would definitely recommend this film.

WallisofWindsor Mon 21-Nov-16 16:14:01

Great film 5 star award deserved.

I'm proud to say that I had the honour of working with Lady Ruth Khama in Gaborone for the Red Cross in the 90s.
She carried herself with amazing dignity up to the end of her life RIP.

sharond101 Mon 21-Nov-16 20:25:13

My Husband isn't at all romantic and pre children I made an effort with candles and roses and all the trimmings. Surprise moonlit picnics etc but he cringed at the lot. He did lead me to believe this year that he had not bought e anything for my Birthday. I had picked up a few bits and bobs I wanted and presented them to him but I would have always expected an additional surprise and it seemed like that was not to be then at the end of the day he presented me with a voucher for a couples spa retreat at a top class location. he had heard me talk about it and bought the best package. I am still working on him so something is getting through!

Thistly Mon 21-Nov-16 22:06:49

I love the story of Ronia the Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren, where Ronia and Bork's friendship helps overcome hostility between two rival bands of robbers.
It is a very inspiring read for children and adults alike.

I would love to see this film with my children to help them understand historical context for mixed race relationships.

booklooker Tue 22-Nov-16 08:54:14

A TV film of 'A marriage of inconvenience' was made in 1990.

I was teaching in Botswana at that time and remember reading the book, it was very moving.

Ruth Karma was regularly seen around the capital, Gaborone. She was well respected and loved.

I shall have to watch the film.

Sharpkat Tue 22-Nov-16 13:44:16

Went to see the preview with a friend and both thoroughly enjoyed it. Bit slow in parts but thought provoking and very interesting. Thought it was very well done. 5 stars from me. Thanks Mumsnet for the tickets.

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