Movie of the Week - Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

By admin
22 November 2013

This might just be the best movie yet about the eventful life of Nelson Mandela.

Biopic. With Idris Elba, Naomie Harris and Terry Pheto. Director: Justin Chadwick. 10LVSP. Opens 29 November.

Forget all those misgivings you might have had about “foreigners” making movies about Nelson Mandela and South Africa. Director Justin Chadwick’s research was thorough and he manages to portray the atmosphere and culture of our country with respect and insight, and with excellent performances by the brilliant Idris Elba (even though he doesn’t always get the accent right) and especially Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandela.  It doesn’t try to be flattering or politically correct and paints a warts-and-all picture of Madiba and Winnie. They’re just people after all, and the movie reflects this without taking sides. But it’s Mandela’s superhuman belief in forgiveness, his wisdom, calmness, authority and responsibility – all of which he used to steer his country away from a bloody civil war – that will stay with you. Deciding what aspects of such a great life to focus on is of course an intimidating task, but the scriptwriter identified the key episodes and they were filmed in a way that avoids the film becoming a rousing political statement, instead offering a respectful, touching look at a formidable statesman. Highly recommended. Rating 4/5

- Leon van Nierop

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