Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘A United Kingdom’ (2017)

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A United Kingdom, directed by Amma Asante and based on a true story, wastes no time announcing its Uranian theme of breaking with tradition.

On the one hand, the upheaval is personal. In 1947 Englishwoman Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) attends a dance with her sister (Laura Carmichael) and has one of those love-at-first-sight moments with black law student Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo).

On the other hand, the highly charged Uranian spark of rebellion, freedom and progressive vision for the future is deeply political.

Seretse happens to be the future king of Bechuanaland, a kingdom that’s actually a Protectorate of England that’s temporarily being ruled by his uncle (Vusi Kunene) until Seretse is ready to take over.

Despite neighboring South Africa’s and other countries’ embrace of Apartheid and racial separatism, the couple marry and head to Seretse’s home, where they must confront Seretse’s uncle’s – and other family members’ – overt opposition to and anger at the union, as well as the young man’s right to lead.

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After an impassioned speech to his tribal constituents, Seretse gets the support he needs, but he and Ruth are challenged by British officials (Tom Felton and Jack Davenport). Seretse also wants to confirm the likelihood that the land holds abundant mineral reserves which he does not want England to exploit.

The film juxtaposes Saturnine tradition – here represented by we-know-better-than-you colonialists – with a Uranian vision that embraces racial unity. The overriding archetype, however, may well be the Lunar archetype of family: uncle and nephew heal their wounds, and Ruth welcomes her role as both personal mother and mother of the country which, in 1966, became Botswana, with Seretse Khama as the nation’s first elected president.

Archetype: The Revolutionary. Freedom. Vision. Family.

Astrology Archetype:☽ ♄ ♅ (Moon, Saturn, Uranus)

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