Movie review – Not enough Winnie

2014-03-09 14:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Far too much Nelson and not nearly enough Winnie.

That’s the best summary I can muster for Darrell Roodt’s Winnie Mandela.

It didn’t feel like a movie. I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was catching up on the Sunday omnibus of a moderately interesting soap opera that should probably have been cancelled years ago.

Although the film’s title contains her name, it didn’t tell me nearly enough about one of the most divisive, fascinating women in South Africa’s apartheid story.

The first section focuses on the love story between bright-eyed, determined young Madikizela, a social worker in training in Johannesburg, and Mandela, the hotshot lawyer who has the government worried and black South Africans thinking about freedom and equality.

Courtship, marriage, yawn.

I came away resolving to read Madikizela-Mandela’s prison diary, 491 Days, because the best parts of this movie involved her time in solitary confinement.

Jennifer Hudson, who plays Winnie, surprised me here and I even forgot for a while that I was watching an actress playing a role.

She captured the strange, almost schizophrenic, experience of a woman being irrevocably broken while becoming stronger – and she did it with heart and guts.

For the rest of the time, sadly, she was a beautiful woman with a bad South African accent who didn’t show me anything new.

She also had to play in the shadow of Terrence Howard, who was a physically compelling Nelson Mandela, but whose accent nearly had me stuffing popcorn in my ears. When he referred to his wife’s soccer club as “shotshis”, I briefly lost the will to live.

It all felt too jerky and episodic and, as a result, infuriatingly unsatisfying.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.