A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Suggests that in the transition from white control to black control, the African National Congress party feared that asking for too much would jeopardize its ability to get anything at all. According to the film, Winnie wanted more concessions from the white power structure and spoke up loudly, so her own party helped frame her for a murder she didn't commit.
Positive Role Models
Winnie is a charismatic, brave, intensely intelligent, determined, strong-willed, strategic, and uncompromising freedom fighter who spends her whole life fighting injustice but is nevertheless delegitimized by government factions that feared her power. Apartheid leaders were racist and greedy and didn't want to share power with the country's majority black population. Nelson Mandela supported his wife at first but later seemed to consider her a political liability and withdrew his support.
Violence & Scariness
The apartheid government used murder, torture, imprisonment, economic oppression, and banishment to terrify the black population and threaten them into submission. Graphic scenes of shootings and riots are shown.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A newspaper headline suggests Winnie had an affair during her husband's long incarceration.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Winnie is a historical look at the life and difficult times of South African leader Winnie Mandela, who fought against apartheid while her husband, Nelson, was imprisoned for 27 years. The intense violence and racism of the whites-only repressive regime she fought are depicted in news footage and descriptions of murderous, bloody riots and shootings. A newspaper headline suggests Winnie had an affair during her husband's long incarceration. The focus is on political betrayal, backstabbing, and an unjust justice system. Participants in the struggle for freedom as well as former government officials discuss the government's attempts to maintain power in the hands of 3.5 million whites and out of the hands of the country's 30 million blacks. Best for teens and up. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This documentary makes the case that Winnie Mandela was railroaded by concerted and tactical efforts to sully her name and dissipate her power. The trouble is that some parts seem muddy and may be difficult to follow for all but the most well-informed. The story of the murder charges against her and the origins of that story aren't presented as clearly as they might have been. Also, the argument for the deliberate and baseless besmirching of her name is made, but it feels a bit one-sided and thus perhaps not as convincing as it might have been. Oddly, Winnie never suggests that the efforts by her own party to get rid of her had anything to do with anti-female bias, which certainly feels like a factor to even the most uninformed observer.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.