Parents' Guide to

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Nelson Mandela deserves a great movie. This isn't it.

Movie PG-13 2013 139 minutes
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Nelson Mandela deserves a great movie about his life, and though actor Idris Elba does an admirable job capturing the man's spirit throughout many years, this particular movie is rather poor. It hits only highlights, going over important events like a checklist, without ever digging very deep. These moments come across as if they were merely fated to be, rather than occurring dramatically or naturally. As a result, the character comes across as an untouchable, unrealistic superhero rather than a person, and all the other people in his life appear as ciphers. The movie barely even identifies them, much less introduces them. Director Justin Chadwick, who also made the dreadful The Other Boleyn Girl, never seems invested in the material. Not a scene passes that doesn't seem to borrow ideas from dozens of other movies. It's all quite passionless, although actress Naomie Harris, as Winnie Mandela, eventually gets in a few powerful moments during the second half.

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