MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM Movie Review and Educational Guide
MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM is the inspirational and moving story of one of the greatest leaders of our time. It is a great balance of story-telling of a man’s personal relationships that shaped him and of the history of apartheid in South Africa.
MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM is based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, which chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society. Idris Elba (PROMETHEUS) stars as Nelson Mandela, Naomie Harris (SKYFALL) stars as Winnie Mandela, with Justin Chadwick (THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL) directing. (The Weinstein Company)
Idris Elba was worthy of the Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actor in Motion Picture-Drama. He carried the essence of Mandela which I cannot imagine is an easy feat but there he is on the screen capturing the essence of Mandela. In his booming voice, he hollars "AMANDLA" and you feel as if you are there wanting to raise your fist in agreement. Or was that just me? (AMANDLA means power.)
Naomie Harris is fantastic as Winnie Mandela. Harris and Elba create perfect chemistry on the screen as the powerful Mandela couple. The audience falls in love with her as Mandela did which, I believe, will leave them with feelings about her at the end. Harris's performance of the turbulent life of Winnie is impecable.
Maybe my emotions were running strong as I watched this movie the day after Nelson Mandela passed away and news about his death was nearly inescapable. The whole world was mourning him. This movie is a love story – for his people, his country, his family and his freedom. This movie beautifully portrays, first, his love for his people.
Even though you may be familiar with the history of South Africa and Apartheid, you may still find yourself anticipating what will happen next to Mandela. What happens to him as a young man, in prison and even when he is finally freed, may make you think: this man is going to break. Well, that’s what kept running through my mind.
He doesn’t though. He keeps on. The movie shares the deeply moving parts of his life – good and horrific. It shines a light on Mandela that allows us, the audience, to see in his life as a man, as a human.
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Since I saw this movie, I’ve asked students, teachers and parents: Do you/your kids know who Nelson Mandela is? If your student is old enough, watch this movie with them. If you an educator, there is an educational guide for you to assist you teaching students about Mandela, his impact and leadership and apartheid. Find the resources on the MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM website. There are videos to watch and lessons to download.
If you don’t have a student, I encourage you to watch for yourself. It is in select theaters now.