A United Kingdom (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

A United Kingdom (2017)



Critic Consensus: Well-acted, solidly crafted, and all-around worthy, A United Kingdom presents an absorbing look at a singular true-life love story.

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A UNITED KINGDOM is based on extraordinary true events. In 1947, Seretse Khama, the King of Botswana, met Ruth Williams, a London office worker. They were a perfect match, yet their proposed marriage was challenged not only by their families but by the British and South African governments. The latter had recently introduced the policy of apartheid and found the notion of a biracial couple ruling a neighboring country intolerable. South Africa threatened the British: either thwart the couple or be denied access to South African uranium and gold and face the risk of South Africa invading Botswana.

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David Oyelowo
as Seretse Khama
Rosamund Pike
as Ruth Williams
Jack Davenport
as Alistair Canning
Tom Felton
as Rufus Lancaster
Jessica Oyelowo
as Lady Lilly Canning
Arnold Oceng
as Charles
Nicholas Rowe
as Fenner Brockway
Anton Lesser
as Prime Minister Attlee
Anastasia Hille
as Dot Williams
Jack Lowden
as Tony Benn
Nicholas Lyndhurst
as George Williams
Charlotte Hope
as Olivia Lancaster
Nicolas Rowe
as Fenner Brockway
Theo Landey
as Michael Nash
Vusi Kunene
as Tshekedi Khama
Abena Ayivor
as Ella Khama
Billy Boyle
as Reverend James Manners
Kevin Hand
as Manager
Raymond Burnet
as Reverend Leonard Patterson
Michael Howe
as Terence Bernard
Madison Manowe
as Baby Jacqueline
Motheo Motalaote
as Baby Jacqueline
Chelsea J. Scott
as Baby Jacqueline
Julian Firth
as Mr. Speaker
Duncan Wisbey
as Commonwealth Under-Secretary
Rupert Vansittart
as Sir Ian Fraser
Justice Moilwa
as Young Man
Gareth Matthews
as Station Master
Femi Ogunbanjo
as Man From Rhodesia
Letsomo Latshipa
as Village Headman
Tapologo Manche
as Woman in Rondavel
Ookeditse Mosenki
as African Girl
John Mazabathi Mokandla
as Naledi Village Man
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Critic Reviews for A United Kingdom

All Critics (160) | Top Critics (40)

Screenwriter Guy Hibbert and Asante pull off a precision balancing act, illuminating the intensity of the love the couple shared and never once allowing their romance to take a back seat to the issues.

February 24, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Director Amma Asante is carving a niche for herself, making gorgeous-looking cinema from untold histories. Her best asset here is Oyelowo.

February 24, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Noble but stuffy, "A United Kingdom's" good intentions suffer from its dull, predictable beats.

February 24, 2017 | Rating: C | Full Review…

Oyelowo and Pike make for a convincing couple, even if the romance is the love-at-first-sight variety that requires a certain leap of faith.

February 23, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Oyelowo captures Seretse's quiet dignity while also hinting at the limits of his patience. And Pike is compelling as a woman who rises to the occasion regardless of the circumstances.

February 23, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Oyelowo's Seretse can both deliver a barnburner of a speech and put a gentle world of meaning into a quiet "Thank you, my love"; Pike's Ruth wears her wide-open heart on her face.

February 22, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A United Kingdom

Despite its great performances and the relevance of the story it wants to tell, A United Kingdom is perhaps a bit too conventional to be memorable. Full review on filmotrope. com

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

One of my biggest pet peeves is a film that says it is "based on a true story", especially when they take a true story and completely embellish it to the point of falsehood just to make it entertaining (see: "Hidden Figures"). Here is a case of at least the entire plot being verified history. Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams Khama joined together in marriage in one of the most prominent and controversial interracial unions in the history of the Western world. They knew they were going to have to face arduous opposition from governments and even their own families, but they did it anyway. Their story exposed the absurdity of the South African apartheid regime and the de facto racism of the United Kingdom at that time. The enlightened realization that race has no genetic basis was a long time coming, and the triumphs of the Khamas and the people of Botswana played an essential role in legitimizing this truth. Then there's that guy who played Draco in the "Harry Potter" movies as a sniveling, petulant liaison to the British Ambassador of Botswana. Does that guy ever attempt a role that is out of his typecast? Obviously, the bureaucrats that exile Khama and try to keep Botswana down are jerks that deserve the bad press, but their mustache-twiddling malice constantly smacks you over the head. There's nothing subtle about who the bad racist white people are as they're characterized for maximum gumption-riling and satisfactory comeuppance. Maybe those people did have that much malice in real life, and maybe they need to tick off the audience like they do. By the consummatory ending, the film managed to gut-punch a few tears out of me, and I was willing to forgive being manipulated a bit. It's just too bad that southern Africa isn't very exciting to look at.

K Nife Churchkey
K Nife Churchkey

Super Reviewer

A universally appealing, timely, and ultimately crowd pleasing true story told with control, conviction and warmth. Great performances from the leads and larger cast, and further proof that Amma Asante is a director to treasure.

Daniel Parsons
Daniel Parsons

Super Reviewer

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