‘A United Kingdom’ Doesn’t Differentiate Itself From Other Teary-Eyed Historical Dramas

GameStop, Inc.

A United Kingdom

The stuff of fairy tales often feature a nice girl who meets a charming young man only to discover that he’s royalty. Their whirlwind romance whisks them away to his kingdom where they live happily ever after. Sometimes these kind of things happen in real life, as was the case with Ruth Williams and Seretse Khama in 1947. However, Ruth being a nice English girl and Seretse being royalty from Africa led to all sorts of political strife as their union was frowned upon for no other reason than the difference in their skin color. Their romance is the subject of A United Kingdom, a film by director Amma Asante which hits all of the generic notes expected of a would-be prestige picture. A United Kingdom is remarkably dry and clichéd and fails to find much depth in this story that defied one kingdom and united another.

Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) is finishing his studies in London as his Uncle has Tshekedi (Vusi Kunene) rules over the people of the African nation of Bechuanaland in his absence. One night a social function, Seretse catches the eye of Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), an English woman living with her parents and sister. The two quickly form a romantic bond and agree to marry before travelling back to Seretse’s land of Bechuanaland in order to ascend to the throne. This union doesn’t please many outside the loving relationship as Ruth is shunned by her father and Seretse must face the disapproval of his uncle. Compounding matters is the resistance presented by the British officers who want to destroy this marriage as to appease the racist and brutal regime within South Africa. Once back in Bechuanaland, both Seretse and Ruth face various forms of scorn for their forbidden love, with Tshekedi trying to usurp Seretse from the throne as Ruth is shunned by the women of the nation. Eventually love conquers all, be it the British Empire or racial discrimination and everyone lives happily ever after because this is that sort of movie.

The source of A United Kingdom’s greatest weakness comes in the form of the script by Guy Hibbert. The dialogue is leaden and obvious in the most grating manner possible. The scenarios unfold without a bit of suspense or intrigue. You know exactly what’s about to happen before it happens because that’s just the way things unfold in this sort of movie. The British officers (played by Jack Davenport and Tom Felton) never approach anything resembling real people, even the worst aspects of British imperialism. These characters are written like villains in an historical biopic, speaking only in nefarious tones with blunt language that was likely printed in bold so that nobody misses the point. That same lack of depth is given to the people Bechuanaland, all speaking down to Ruth because she could never understand their way of life – that is, until she does and everyone has an epiphany and gets along in the glimmering images of magic hour photography. There is no subtext in A United Kingdom, just boldface text that has been highlighted and underlined for further emphasis on what is already quite obvious.

Both David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike avail themselves well considering the strikingly unoriginal take on the subject matter. As he’s proven in films like Selma, Oyelowo can easily handle giving moving, impassioned speeches as a plea to our better selves and he does such here in of the film’s most effective moments. Opposite Oyelowo, Pike injects A United Kingdom with its rare moments of humor. The inescapable fact is that each are underutilized in a film that his little interest in anything beyond the surface level tale of a forbidden love in the face of racism.

Working with an obviously weak script leaves director Amma Asante hamstrung, but even then she seems content to just let A Kingdom United play out in the most rote way possible. The moments of levity are few and far between as Asante allows the movie to feel monotone throughout its two-hour running time. This is a weepy historical drama with the hopes of awards on its mind and little else. The courtship of the romance between Seretse and Ruth comes across as rushed and the persecution they face feels as by-the-numbers as it gets. Because this movie doesn’t have an original bone in its body, A United Kingdom concludes with title cards that appear between pictures of the real life Seretse and Ruth, a common contrivance in films of this ilk.

The clichéd Oscar bait nature of A United Kingdom best serves a reminder to just how special last year’s interracial marriage drama Loving truly was. Where Loving eschewed each and every aspect of the generic Oscar bait movie, A United Kingdom falls into these traps repeatedly with nothing to separate it from the pack of countless other historical dramas that cover the same territory. Aside from its unoriginal form, A United Kingdom underwhelms in part because it seeks to wrap everything up with a happy ending, as if this one marriage singlehandedly undermined opposition to interracial marriage once and for all. If only there was a final word on the subject.

A United Kingdom
  • Overall Score


A by-the-numbers historical drama, A United Kingdom features two solid lead performances but never finds its own rhythm outside the prestige picture template.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Luke Dimyan Talks About Portraying Judas Iscariot in, ‘The Chosen’ – Interview

Luke Dimyan Talks About Portraying Judas Iscariot in, ‘The Chosen‘, with...

Brett Harvey Talks ‘Breaking Olympia: The Phil Heath Story’

International Award Winning Director and Writer, Brett Harvey takes us  into...

‘Wednesday’ Comes to Blu-ray on Tuesday from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

‘Wednesday‘ Comes to Blu-ray on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, from Warner...

Event News Event Reviews
It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice’ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the Arts – Review

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice‘ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the...

‘MJ the Musical’ Chronicles the Life of the ‘King of Pop’ Running at Segerstrom – Review

‘MJ the Musical‘ is the Ultimate Stage Adaptation, Chronicling the life...

Aiden Sinclair and Michael Rangel Talks ’57 Ghosts’ Aboard the Queen Mary Séance

Aiden Sinclair and Apparitionist, Michael Rangel Discuss their new Theatrical Séance...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

Ultimate Women of Wrestling Comes to the Globe Theatre – Interview

Ultimate Women of Wrestling Comes to the Globe Theatre on Sunday,...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse! Kurt v Sid pt 3

I am the anti-saint of paper cuts

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse, battle at the Infernal gate pt 2

Oh Bruh, you did NOT just quote "Predator"!

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse – Battle at the Infernal Gate pt 1


Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...