This movie follows Nelson Mandela (Elba) from his tranquil childhood in the heart of rural South Africa through to the months just after his release from prison and his path to the abolition of the hated and cruel apartheid and the ultimate reunification of his deeply divided nation. As someone who was more familiar with the elder Mandela, who was already entrenched world-wide as a wise and determined freedom fighter, I found this story, based on his 1995 autobiography, really interesting, educational and very moving.
I am quite sure it is entirely unnecessary for me to fill you in on Nelson Mandela. If you don’t know who he is, go away and please never visit my blog again.
This movie didn’t shy away from the realities of Mandela’s life. He was a womaniser and did not curtail his activities during his first marriage to Evelyn Mase (Pheto). In fact, it was his indifference to her that ended their marriage.
I had no idea that his second wife Winnie (Harris) was such a strong and convicted voice for her oppressed people. I knew she stood by Mandela and continued his cause while he languished away on the hellish island prison all those years but I had no idea she was arrested and confined to 16 months solitary confinement. She had no idea what happened to her children and this must have ripped her apart.
At almost 2 1/2 hours long, this is quite the trek through Mandela’s life but well worth the viewing. At times, real footage was cut in to show some of the more harrowing atrocities the apartheid regime inflicted on its native population. Police opening fire on a crowd and gunning down men, women and even children. Then they search the dead with instructions to ‘find a gun, find a gun’ to justify their cowardly actions.
I have little more to say other than if you have an interest in the man himself or this time in our history, this is a great movie. It did drag a little in places but, as I noted before, I was unfamiliar with much of Mandela’s early life so mostly found this movie informative and interesting.
I cannot begin to imagine how horrible it must have been to live under apartheid and I have nothing but the utmost respect for every person who was prepared to sacrifice their own lives for the freedom of their country. For it was not just Mandela who ended apartheid…. he need the co-operation of the new South African President De Klerk.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
Director : Justin Chadwick
Starring : Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Terry Pheto, Tony Kgoroge, Deon Lotz, Gys de Villiers, Terry Pheto
Running Time : 141 minutes
Release Date : 6 February, 2014