Magazine article New Internationalist

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Magazine article New Internationalist

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Article excerpt

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom directed by Justin Chadwick (139 minutes)

This is a big, respectful biopic, presenting a highly committed, principled and courageous political leader, if not quite a secular saint. It serves up a straightforward story, of a wise and manly hero who succeeds in his quest, though with a twist. He gains his mother's, and his people's gratitude, but he doesn't win over, or live happily with, his life's love.

Indeed Winnie Mandela's trajectory, from the traditional sweet and devoted girlfriend and young wife, to 'demon', a bitter and vengeful inciter of violence and 'necklacing', will shock many. It schematically serves, though, to point up the stature of her husband, who, we see, has the foresight and humanity to lead his country peacefully to political equality.

Idris Elba is a surprisingly robust Mandela, who, as a young lawyer, boxes, keeps himself fit, and, in expensive suits, and with corny lines, has an eye for the ladies. …

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