Film Review: Legacy Matters in ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’

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CHICAGO – The memory of South Africa freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, who passed away on December 5th, is filled with deserved accolades and iconography. Director Justin Chadwick and actor Idris Elba brings the man to human life in the essential “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

This is the story that seemed lost in the overindulgent focus on the death of Mandela, but not the life. He was a radical and a freedom fighter, and fought a virulent and jack-booted white power base. He was thrown into prison for 27 years, and sacrificed his life, family and freedom for the cause he believed in. Focusing on that in the media after Mandela’s demise was impossible, they wanted the grandfatherly man who lived to the ripe old age of 95. “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” reinstates the rabble rouser, the intellect and the social theorist who affected the 20th Century as much as any other man.

Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba) was born in 1918 in South Africa’s Cape Province, part of the Thembu people. He desired higher education in his life, contrary to his tribal roots, and eventually became a lawyer in Johannesburg, South Africa. His early life was defined by cases involving the injustice of apartheid, and his work in the African National Congress (ANC) in the 1950s split him from his first wife.

His radicalism and arrests increased in the late 1950s, while he wooed and wed his second wife Winnie (Naomie Harris). In 1961, Mandela founded a militant group which used acts of sabotage against utilities to influence the opposition party. This led to an arrest and conviction on conspiracy to overthrow the government. After 27 years in two prisons, Mandela was released. His second act in life included a controversial negotiation to end apartheid, and a term as South Africa’s president.

“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” opens everywhere on December 25th. Featuring Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge and Gys de Villiers. Screenplay Adapted by William Nicholson. Directed by Justin Chadwick. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of ”Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”

Idris Elba
The Young Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba) in ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’
Photo credit: The Weinstein Company

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of ”Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”

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