In London, 1947 Sereste Khama (David Oyelowo) meets Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) at an evening social of the London Missionary Society. The attraction is immediate and after an evening of political discussion and jazz enjoyment, they talk together until dawn. They cannot easily walk away from each other. Ruth is British and white. Sereste is African and black, and the heir to the throne of Bechuanaland (today Botswana). Based on a true love story, this film is a terrific presentation of how strong love, deep seated values and human decency can triumph over pecuniary interests pursued by corrupt governments.
Sereste and Rosamund marry quickly in Britain to the consternation of the British government as embodied in Sir Alistair Canning, the British envoy to South Africa. They make it to Beschuanaland but are not welcomed by the regent, Sereste’s Uncle Tshekedi (business Kunene) or his sister Naledi (Terry Pheto), nor his Aunt Elle (Abena Ayivor), who all feel deeply betrayed by Sereste’s choice of a white British citizen over a local woman. While they both fight their own battles against bigotry and racism, Ruth becomes pregnant. They are summoned to London but Ruth stays behind with the help of locals who were won over by her efforts to embrace their culture. However once Sereste is in Britain, the government contrives to keep him there, barring him from returning to his homeland. Why so much interest in such a small country? Sereste engages a journalist to help find out and over time, spent alone by Sereste and Ruth, each in their non-native countries, all is revealed. A wonderfully expressive cast rounds out this stirring real life drama that unites two cultures for the good of a small nation. (Mary Wienke)
- USA | UK | Czech Republic 2016
- Opening: March 30, 2017
- Directed by: Amma Asante
- Writing credits: Guy Hibbert
- Principal actors: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Tom Felton, Laura Carmichael, Terry Pheto, Anton Lesser, Abena Ayivor