Thought-provoking biopic pulls no punches

MOVIE REVIEW

REVIEWED BY MAREE FIELD
Last updated 09:05 11/02/2014
long walk to freedom
 

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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Starring Idris Elba, Naomie Harris; directed by Justin Chadwick

The life of Nelson Mandela is a hard one to compress into a two and half hour movie, but Long Walk to Freedom does a pretty good job.

It starts out with a broad sketch of Mandela's early life as a child before settling in to focus on his work with the African National Congress and his long imprisonment.

Idris Elba inhabits the role of Mandela so well that it's hard to imagine anyone else playing him.

The movie treats Mandela's story with respect, while not flinching away from character flaws, making it a well-rounded biopic.

It gives a necessarily potted history of South Africa's struggle with apartheid and the fight of the large part of its population for equality. A struggle that often turned violent.

As Mandela struggles with his long imprisonment, his wife Winnie (a very stirring turn by Naomie Harris) takes up the cause and battles on.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom doesn't spare anyone in its effort to tell Mandela's story, and that serves the film - and the persona of Nelson Mandela himself - very well.

Thought-provoking, sad and sometimes violent, it's a must-see.

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- The Southland Times

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