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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars YOU ALONE ARE SMALL. YOUR PEOPLE ARE MIGHTY,
The film covers from the time Mandela (Idris Elba) was a child entering manhood to his election. It touches on problems in his personal life, including infidelity. It touches on tire necklaces. It ignores much of the pressure brought on by the international community.

I liked the acting. At 2 1/2 hours, the film weighs on you as you watch it. Mandela in prison...
Published 11 months ago by The Movie Guy

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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthy but Superficial Account of a Great Man's Life
At the heart of Justin Chadwick's film lies a wondrous central performance by Idris Elba. Although facially unlike Nelson Mandela, he captures the great man's mannerisms and speech-patterns with uncanny accuracy. Throughout his long life, depicted in MANDELA from his humble beginnings as a lawyer to his final accession to the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa...
Published 10 months ago by Dr. Laurence Raw


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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthy but Superficial Account of a Great Man's Life, January 30, 2014
By 
Dr. Laurence Raw (Beckenham, Kent United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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At the heart of Justin Chadwick's film lies a wondrous central performance by Idris Elba. Although facially unlike Nelson Mandela, he captures the great man's mannerisms and speech-patterns with uncanny accuracy. Throughout his long life, depicted in MANDELA from his humble beginnings as a lawyer to his final accession to the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa in the mid-1990s, he comes across as a devoted family man, who is nonetheless devoted to the nationalist cause. When faced with a choice between domesticity and politics, he inevitably chooses the latter option. This might not necessarily be the best for him, but it is something that he believes he must do for the cause of the African National Congress. Although not by nature a violent man, Elba's Mandela is nonetheless pragmatic; as the Sixties wear on, he understands that violence is necessary in order to advance the cause of African equality in the apartheid regime. While this performance stands out in the film, the handling of post-1945 South African history is superficially handled. We are not told why the apartheid regime came into being in the late Forties; nor does the film explain how and why it fundamentally differed from the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. For the first half-hour, the film adopts a comic-strip approach to history; a series of apparently disparate sequences follow one another with little concern for historical coherence. It is only when Mandela is sent to Robben Island for life imprisonment that the structure becomes more comprehensible. When Mandela is released from prison, the film once again fails to provide explanations for the sudden outbreak of violence in the townships following his release, when it seemed that African was fighting African as well as the white minority. Nor does the film acknowledge the contribution made by other members of the ANC (African National Congress) - for example, Oliver Tambo. Viewers expecting to learn something about South African history since 1945 will be sadly disappointed.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars YOU ALONE ARE SMALL. YOUR PEOPLE ARE MIGHTY,, December 21, 2013
The film covers from the time Mandela (Idris Elba) was a child entering manhood to his election. It touches on problems in his personal life, including infidelity. It touches on tire necklaces. It ignores much of the pressure brought on by the international community.

I liked the acting. At 2 1/2 hours, the film weighs on you as you watch it. Mandela in prison struggling to get long pants while international boycotts go unmentioned. Granted this was not a documentary about the movement, but a bio of Mandela. Still I felt his significance on the world front was diminished. From a human point of view, I liked the film "Winnie Mandela" with Jennifer Hudson better than this one.

The theme, You alone are small, your people are mighty, was mentioned a couple of times, but the film didn't make any great lengths to demonstrate it. A better theme would have been one of forgiveness, something mentioned in the film. Mandela's involvement in the 1995 Rugby World Cup I think would have made a better ending, driving home the point of unity and forgiveness.

Parental Guide: No sex, people undressing as if to have sex. No nudity, prison men in underwear. Maybe an F-bomb of two, hard to tell with accents. 3 1/2 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking, June 1, 2014
Great acting from Idris Elba and Naomi. The film was enlightening, especially towards the end before Mandela was released from prison, it's surprising to learn how s*** scared the government were about the possibility of a black uprising happening. The film depicted key moments in Nelsons life, not an easy biography to film in such short time, but nicely portrayed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great., April 5, 2014
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This is an interesting movie, as Mandela is an icon around the world. His life story is fascinating. South Africa is also a beatific ill country. The acting in the film was average. Idris Elba who plays Mandela was outdone by the woman who plays Winnie Mandela, in my opinion. He was ok but she was more believable. Still it was an entertaining film and enjoyed it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, horrible experience with Amazon, May 25, 2014
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Great history of the man and the rebirth of a nation.

The Amazon playback, however was terrible -- after pausing about 2/3 of the way through the movie, it froze every few minutes. Amazon needs to improve its buffering technology to deliver a better viewing experience. Next time, I'm gong to try UVerse or RedBox.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Spear Of The Nation, September 18, 2014
No question after the black civil rights struggle here in America, headed at various points by Doctor Martin Luther King, subsided with some partial victories around voting and freeing work opportunities the axis of the international black liberation struggle shifted, shifted in American eyes, to the horrible conditions of blacks in South Africa. There under the conscious apartheid policy complete with the hated pass system of the Afrikaner government blacks were held as little more than chattel. And were expected to like it to boot. Something about the white man’s “civilizing mission” although more likely, much more likely his craving for cheap labor to work those money-filled, resource-filled mines that drove the South African economy. The situation called for black resistance, called big time for black resistance, since the white government was not interested in the least in sharing power, any power, except maybe that given to their black front men to control the masses. Enter the African National Congress (ANC), or actually the arrival through fits and starts of lawyer Nelson Mandela into the ANC and you have a leader who the world came to know as the icon of that organization. And this film, Nelson Mandela: A Long Walk To Freedom based on his 1995 autobiography and which opened late in 2013 as he passed away traces the evolution of the man from a free-lancer lawyer to a serious anti-apartheid revolutionary leader.

Of course any political liberation movement, the black civil rights movement here in America with its bookends of Doctor King calling for non-violent resistance to the oppressor for the redress of grievance and Malcolm X calling for “by any means necessary or the freedom struggle in the early days in the ANC with it non-violent resistance policy and after Sharpsville with armed resistance, has to deal with how it will conduct the struggle. Nelson Mandela (played in a very strong performance by Idris Elba) as shown graphically in the film as the repression worsened helped move the ANC from one policy to the other as the circumstances dictated and paid the price. That price being the incarceration along with the central leadership of the ANC on desolate Robbins Island for over twenty-five year.

Now in this country we are no strangers to the plight political prisoners, particularly back in the 1960s and the heyday of the Black Panthers some who are still languishing relative obscurity in American prisons. And that has been the fate of any number of political prisoners over the years in many countries. The different in South Africa was that Nelson Mandela and the struggle for his freedom was made a continual international campaign. And in a sense as the film also shows there was no more tireless freedom fighter in her own right for Nelson’s freedom than his second wife, Winnie (played by Naomie Harris). Obviously the love story, the long term deprived of love one story, is a good cinematic hook to tell the story. Tell the story of a personally-driven struggle to get her man back at first. Then as the years passed and new generations were coming to the struggle with more in-your-face ideas about how to bring down the regime how Winnie moved politically to Nelson’s left on the need to do that (as well as growing personal estrangement). That shift in the struggle as exemplified by the Soweto uprising in the mid-1970s did not get enough attention in the film since Nelson was removed from what was going on. That too is the plight of the political prisoner isolated as new possibilities emerge and constituted a strong reason to get him out of jail-fast.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Idris Elba shines in biopic, 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom', December 27, 2013
History will remember the late, great Nelson Mandela as one of the world's most important leaders. His devotion to South Africa and to the freedom of his people is a unparalleled, putting him in the company of immortal human rights icons, like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Gandi, and Malcolm X. Mandela spent nearly half of his life incarcerated as a unique living martyr – and although he was out of sight, he was never out of mind. Looking back at the life of Mandela, he is an inspiration for all of use, proving that no matter how difficult something becomes, if you give yourself to a cause and demand change, you will reap the rewards. And, also like history's greatest figures, Nelson Mandela will likely see his immortality recognized many times over on the big screen – the first of which is Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Director Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl, The First Grader) helms this Nelson Mandela biopic, starring Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela. When the film begins, we see shades of Mandela entering adulthood, eventually moving quickly into his days as a lawyer. It doesn't take long for this film to set a disturbing tone of racial inequality in the troubled county of South Africa. Before focusing on his prominent role in fighting apartheid (forced racial segregation), the film turns its attention to his first marriage – which is slowly deteriorates due to his prolonged absence and infidelity.

After his first wife leaves him, Mandela turns his sights to protests and speaking to supporters of the freedom fighter cause. At the same time, he meets Winnie Madikizela (Naomie Harris), whom he quickly falls for, marries, and incorporates in their battle for freedom. With his people behind him, Mandela is now a polarizing figure that's hunted for allegedly being behind a violent revolution with the intent to overthrow the nation. He, and those close to him, are eventually apprehended and given life imprisonment – but if you think that would be enough to deter a revolution, you're wrong. Even behind bars, Nelson Mandela finds ways to inspire his closest friends and a country desperate for change.

Biopics can be a bear to tackle, especially when they're based squally on the majority of one man's life. Nelson Mandela accomplished more in his life than you could ever hope to put into a roughly 2 hour film. With that being said, Long Walk to Freedom, based on the autobiography of the same name written by Nelson Mandela, chronicles the most important aspects of his life – at lest the important moments regarding peace for South Africa. And, if you even vaguely recall the history of South Africa, then you know it's a dark, desperate time. Keeping with that idea, this film does nothing to shy away from the endless amount of violence that took place. One moment in particular is highlighted – that being the disturbing and pivotal moment in 1960 when South African police officers opened fire on unarmed protesters.

There are several crucial, moving events that take place over the course of this film – but as you might expect, many of them have a tendency to feel rushed. Everything moves at a relatively quick pace, but the one thing that makes it such a joy to witness is the acting work of Idris Elba. It's hard to imagine the pressures of taking on such a monumental figure, but Elba does so with such awe-inspiring grace. No, there's nothing about Elba that resembles Nelson Mandela, but Elba's attempt to reenact his voice is both noteworthy and impressive. Elba's portrayal is not only appealing and engaging, but one would like to think that even Nelson Mandela would have been proud of this performance.

This film is one dominated by mostly two figures, one of which is Nelson Mandela and the other being his wife, Winnie – played splendidly by Naomie Harris. While Mandela is a peaceful man that resists the urge to turn to violence, his wife appears to be far more vengeful. You could easily call this couple, who spend far more time apart than together, two different sides of the same coin. One is patient and picks his spots to act, while the other is full of rage and actively involved in the belief to fight – not just figuratively, but physically. Harris adds anger to a film that is surprisingly calm, all be it melancholy and hopelessly resilient.

Overall, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is your average biopic that bites off quite a bit of information and tries to incorporate it in a restricted amount of time. However, while it does seem chopping and off-key at times, it doesn't hinder the quality of the film. There's no shortage of drama to be found in Mandela's life story, but much of it – like his children, marriage, and worldwide diplomacy as the eventual President of South Africa, are overlooked to tell a more concise story about the country's struggles for freedom. Idris Elba and Naomie Harris both give quality performances, which greatly improve this film, and if nothing else, Long Walk to Freedom tells a tremendous story that will serve as a satisfactory vehicle for information about one of the greatest leaders in modern history. This film should be viewed by any and all that have an interest in world history or the beloved Nelson Mandela.

GRADE: B
FNDNreview.com
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, April 7, 2014
By 
Jen K (Sewickley, Pa. United States) - See all my reviews
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I am not sure a movie could ever truly encapsulate the depth, spirit, struggle, and ultimate triumph of Nelson Mandela and his causes, but this movie gave it a good go. You'll be inspired, and the actors do a fantastic job.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What an Inspiring Story, May 25, 2014
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Mandela will forever be etched into memory as the man who overcame oppression through peace and dignity. It goes to prove that a country can ascend above corruption in the most elaborate and civilized of ways.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better then I was expecting and in my opinion a better movie then 12 Years A Slave., March 16, 2014
By 
Tony Heck (Belgrade, MT USA) - See all my reviews
"This may be the greatest thing you ever do for our people." After realizing his country's system of Apartheid isn't good for the people Nelson Mandela (Elba) decides to take a stand. When his legal course doesn't work out he is forced to take more extreme measures. When these acts lead him to life imprisonment the guards do all they can to break him. His resolve continues to grow and eventually he becomes the face of hope and change. Before I started this movie I have to admit I was expecting it to be a little long and boring (it's almost 2 and 1/2 hours). I really liked the Winnie Mandela movie but sat down expecting to have to struggle through this. I was wrong. While the movie did drag in a few spots I have to say it did seem to movie pretty fast and kept me interested the entire time. The one flaw with this movie to me is that it seemed to not show how brutal and rough he had it while in prison, but I don't think that was the point of the movie anyway. After watching Morgan Freeman play Mandela my only thought was why would anyone else even try to portray him. Elba proved me wrong, he was great in this. While I did think that Winnie Mandela was a little better I did like this one much more then I expected to. Overall, Better then I was expecting and in my opinion a better movie then 12 Years A Slave. I give this a B+.
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