Flash Movie Review: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

There are some movies where the story carries the characters, while others have the characters carry the story. Films such as The Wizard of Oz or Sink the Bismarck are story driven. Movies where the character makes the story would be something like The King’s Speech or Captain Phillips. I am especially fond of cinema where the character was an actual person. Though he was before my time, I was fascinated with the film The King’s Speech about King George VI. Learning about the character’s life in visual form created an extra layer of understanding from what I already learned in history books. Now when the main character is someone of my time, I feel like I am witnessing history, that I am part of it. For some reason the idea of future generations reading about a noteworthy individual from my lifetime gives me a charge. I do not really know why; I just like the idea of being able to tell someone about events on a personal level. In regards to this biographical movie, the main character was the driving force. Luckily the main character of Nelson Mandela was impressively played by Idris Elba (Pacific Rim, RocknRolla). This dramatic picture covers Nelson’s life from childhood through his 27 years of prison to becoming President of South Africa. After my first initial recognition of Idris as a current movie and television star, I quickly forgot it and believed I was watching Nelson Mandela; that is how good Idris was in the role. My knowledge about Nelson’s 1st wife Winnie Madikizela was limited; but not only did I think the actress Naomie Harris (Skyfall, 28 Days Later) did a wonderful job portraying her, but I felt I gained an understanding of what happened to the relationship of the two. With the wonderful acting I felt the story suffered here; there was so much history to cover that some parts of it went by too quickly. Here was a case where I think making two movies would have been better. I found myself not being engaged as much when Nelson was not in the scene. It was a disappointment because I saw this film soon after Nelson’s death. With all the newscasts and special reports that came out, I was already invested in his life story. This Golden Globe nominated movie covered a lot of ground; it just did not dig deep enough for me. Several scenes included the Afrikaans and Xhosa languages with English subtitles.


2 1/2 stars

About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on January 7, 2014, in Drama and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Sounds pretty similar to my own experience with this one.

  2. Happy New Year 2014 !

    Thank you for your visit !

  3. I wished they had taken the “Lincoln” approach where they just focused am a key event instead of the whole life. Good review.

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