** (out of 4)
2016 played host to two movies about interracial marriage. The first, Jeff Nichols’ Loving, wasn’t flawless, but it studiously avoided flash in its attempt to show that Mildred and Richard Loving were just an ordinary couple unwillingly thrust into the spotlight. The second is A United Kingdom — another true story, but this time about Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), the king of the British protectorate of Bechuanaland (today the country of Botswana), and his controversial decision in 1947 to marry a white Englishwoman named Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike). Oyelowo and Pike are both grade-A actors — he was MLK in Selma, she Amazing Amy in Gone Girl — so you’d think that with people like them involved, this movie would be able to do good with its subject matter.
Unfortunately, if Loving just fell short of perfection, A United Kingdom isn’t even minimally decent: it’s unsubtle, superficial, and a rundown of one too many clichés about racism and love.