The film covers from the time Mandela (Idris Elba) was a child entering manhood to his election. It touches on problems in his personal life, including infidelity. It touches on tire necklaces. It ignores much of the pressure brought on by the international community.
I liked the acting. At 2 1/2 hours, the film weighs on you as you watch it. Mandela in prison struggling to get long pants while international boycotts go unmentioned. Granted this was not a documentary about the movement, but a bio of Mandela. Still I felt his significance on the world front was diminished. From a human point of view, I liked the film "Winnie Mandela" with Jennifer Hudson better than this one.
The theme, You alone are small, your people are mighty, was mentioned a couple of times, but the film didn't make any great lengths to demonstrate it. A better theme would have been one of forgiveness, something mentioned in the film. Mandela's involvement in the 1995 Rugby World Cup I think would have made a better ending, driving home the point of unity and forgiveness.
Parental Guide: No sex, people undressing as if to have sex. No nudity, prison men in underwear. Maybe an F-bomb of two, hard to tell with accents. 3 1/2 stars