The Long Walk to Freedom is a quick if somewhat uninspiring lesson in history. Based on Mandela’s autobiography with the same name, it traces his journey from being a lawyer to the leader who changed South Africa forever. The story also touches upon his personal life and his romance and falling out with Winnie Mandela, leaving you with the realization that even world leaders, for all the admiration and adulation heaped upon them can sometimes dine alone.
The movie is true to the period it is placed in and the beautiful South African countryside in its golden glory shows up the contrast well with the squalid and depressing conditions in which the blacks lived. However, the first half of the movie leading up to his arrest and long jail stay are flat and follow more of a ‘reporting of important events checklist’ rather than an evolution of the lawyer to a leader. It is only after the jail term begins that you get a sense of the man and his equation with his ANC team who were in jail with him.
Iris Ediba as Nelson Mandela performs his role with dignity though the make up to age him strikes a somewhat artificial. Naomie Harris as Winnie Madikizela is the true star of this movie. She gives us, I think, a true picture of the real Winnie-feisty, passionate, and not afraid to speak her mind.
The movie would have been great to show to kids but for the fact that it has a couple of intimate scenes of Mandela with both his wives. If you can distract them during those scenes, take them. If you are looking for a film to inspire you and fill you with awe and inspiration, this is not it, but if you need a short lesson on Mandela and history it willview less