Winnie poster unveiled amid criticism

2011-09-26 13:43

Just days after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, the promotional poster of the Winnie Mandela biopic Winnie has been revealed.

The movie stars Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson in the title role, opposite Terrence Howard as Nelson Mandela.

Directed by South African filmmaker Darrell James Roodt, the movie tells the story of the future “mother of the nation” as a young woman growing up under impoverished circumstances during apartheid. The movie tracks her rise in the ranks of the African National Congress and her romance with Mandela.

The movie also deals with Winnie’s role in the 1988 kidnapping and murder of 14-year-old activist Stompie Moeketsi.

Winnie has not been far away from controversy, with Winnie Mandela herself calling the movie an insult after seeking to prevent the movie from being made as she was not consulted by the filmmakers about the content of the film.

The screenplay is based on Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob’s biography, Winnie Mandela: A Life.

An incomplete version of the film was screened in Toronto recently and received less than enthusiastic reviews from critics.

Variety comments on the detailed period costumes seen in the film: “... with its big hats and patterned dresses, to the extent that the first act feels a bit like a fashion show set against the backdrop of apartheid,” writes Peter Debruge.

The Guardian was not complimentary of Howard’s performance as Nelson Mandela: “The reading here of a passionate yet complex character feels self-conscious bordering on awkward, even descending into caricature at times,” writes Ed Gibbs in the UK paper’s review, also criticising the film’s “laughably one-dimensional characterisation”.

Jennifer Hudson was not present at the premiere screening, reportedly due to a double booking in her schedule.

A release date for Winnie has not yet been announced.

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