Stately ‘mandela’ Biopic Humanizes An African Icon

<img src='; width='200px' alt='Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela and Riaad Moosa as Ahmed Kathrada in ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.’’ style=’float:left;padding:5px’ />

And unlike Gandhi, Mandela was a player. Long Walk to Freedom captures the womanizing attorney in 1942 who figures that education, hard work, and pride are the secrets to his success and to that of any black South African. He just has to ignore all the times the white Boers call him boy. Trying to get justice for a friend murdered in police custody is what radicalizes him. He finds his purpose and his voice, speaking out for equality. They are having a party, and we are not invited. His political activism and wandering eye cost him his first marriage. His life, his cause, and the movie get a serious jolt of electricity when he meets, courts, and marries his much-younger second wife, Winnie, in the late 1950s. Naomie Harris is at her most beguiling in their courtship and marriage scenes, two modern Africans who don first Western wedding wear, then traditional tribal attire for their nuptials. Then Harris lets us see the rage and hatred rise up in Winnie, the imprisonment, interrogations, and mistreatment that fired her fury. Nelson was in prison, having been convicted of terrorism agitation, bombings of power plants, and the like. Winnie, given even worse treatment (the film suggests), seethes.
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Nelson Mandela


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