Release Date: December 25, 2013
Director: Justin Chadwick
Run Time: 139 min
Screenplay: William Nicholson (screenplay) | Nelson Mandela (autobiography)
Staring: Idris Elba | Naomie Harris | Terry Pheto
Genre: Biography | Drama | History
Synopsis: A chronicle of Nelson Mandela’s life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa.
First, let me start off by saying that I have seen Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom twice now. I first saw it back in September at the Toronto International Film Festival and I loved it. I saw it for the second time over the Christmas holidays with my mother and I have to confess that I loved it even more.
When I initially heard about Nelson Mandela’s incredibly powerful and moving autobiography was being made into a movie I was very skeptical. The book is 656 pages long and covers such a vast amount of material that I didn’t think that there was any possible way it could be made into a movie that would still do it justice. I was wrong, and I have never been more happy to admit that.
What I loved about Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is that the movie doesn’t solely focus on Nelson Mandela. Is he a central part of the movie? Of course he is, but the movie also gives a voice others who were not only a part of Mandela’s life but also a part of the struggle to end Apartheid in South Africa. One of these people in particular is Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s second wife to whom he was married to for 38 years including the 27 years Mandela spent in prison. Indeed Winnie Madikizela-Mandela played a large role in Nelson Mandela’s life and it was great to see that demonstrated in the movie.
And let’s talk about performances in the movie. Idris Elba was superb as Nelson Mandela. I know my mother was surprised by just how good he was, but after having seen his performance in 2005’s Sometimes in April, I had no doubts on just how good he would be in this role. Honestly, I don’t think that there would have been another person out of the list of internationally recognized black actors (of his age group) today that would have been able to pull off the role. Elba’s Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor is well deserved after his fabulous performance. Likewise Naomie Harris delivered an outstanding performance as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. She was enthusiastic, vital, militant and just such a force in her portrayal of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Harris’ performance left me in such awe and totally convinced in her role as Winnie.
Quite honestly, I can see myself adding Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom to my already large DVD collection. The movie adaptation stayed pretty true to the original autobiography and managed to condense a lot of information into a completely believable movie.