Madiba movie gets standing ovation at first screening

By Kirstin Buick
10 September 2013

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, the movie based on Madiba’s autobiography, received a standing ovation at its first international screening.

The audience at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the movie was shown on Saturday, were so moved by the film they stood cheering for almost 10 minutes while the final credits rolled.

The two-and-a-half hour movie stars Idris Elba (Prometheus) as Nelson Mandela and Naomie Harris (Skyfall) as Winnie Mandela.

The film tells Mandela’s life story – from his childhood in rural Eastern Cape to his imprisonment at the height of apartheid, and his eventual inauguration as the first black president of South Africa.

Despite its promising reception in Toronto, the biopic has received mixed reviews. Variety magazine dubbed it “stolidly reverential, shackled to the most dire conventions of the mythmaking biopic”, and The Independent declared it to be “a film with ADHD”.

But the critics seem to agree that Elba’s performance carries the movie. “For all its failings, there is one thing about Long Walk to Freedom that can’t be denied,” says Variety, “Idris Elba gives a towering performance, a Mandela for the ages.”

The cast also includes locals Riaad Moosa (Ahmed Kathrada), Lindiwe Matshikiza (Zindzi Mandela), Deon Lotz (Kobie Coetsee) and Terry Pheto (Evelyn Mase), who entertained the crowd at the Toronto festival, stopping to pose for pictures with fans.

The film is due for release in South Africa next year.

-Kirstin Buick


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