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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2013
This much-awaited film has taken years to bring to screen. The makers decided that they would rather not make the film at all, if not done as accurately as possible. Years of painstaking research and attention to detail went into this movie before the cameras even started filming. Sets such as the Soweto street where the Mandela family lived, the Palace of Justice in Pretoria, and the maximum security jail on Robben Island, are so well made that it is difficult to believe that these were not shot on location. The film traces Mandela from boyhood, through to his inauguration as President, in May 1994. Unfortunately,some periods are glossed over while others are paid more attention. The strain on Mandela and his family is a thread that runs throughout.

The result is moving and beautifully rendered, but does not shy away from the horror of apartheid, as well as the flaws of Nelson Mandela himself. Due to the sometimes harrowing scenes, shot for the movie, or through use of actual news footage, this film is not always an easy one to experience. However uncomfortable the truth was, it forms a vital part of the story. We see verbal racial abuse in the streets, and later, brutality dealt to both Nelson and Winnie Mandela. It is interesting how each handles these abuses.

The film opens with valleys bathed in golden light, and there is much beauty throughout the long (2.5 hours) movie. The times are perfectly replicated, with clothing, cars, streets, and buildings all made very specific to the era being shown, right down to an old SA railways logo not seen for decades, in Johannesburg station. Idris Elba and Naomie Harris are spot-on as Nelson and Winnie. Despite not being South Africans, they do not put a foot wrong. There are a few factual inaccuracies, such as the playing of a Miriam Makeba song during a scene set in 1942, well before Makeba was known, and the colour of the Toyota Cressida in which Mandela was driven from Victor Verster prison was a creamy yellow, not navy blue as shown here. These are small faults though.

The film is a triumph on many levels: As a telling of history, as a love story, and about what helped make Mandela become the great leader he was. "Long Walk to Freedom" is definitely worthy of its great subject.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2014
What a great movie so glad I bought it very pleased with the price made the weekend entertaining would recomend
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2014
I have read the autobiography twice and this film is very true to the book. Idris Elba was brilliant in it as he sounded just like Nelson Mandela. This is a film I will watch again
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The film is faithfully adapted from 'Nelson Mandela's' account of his experiences.
The story takes us from his childhood into manhood, tells of his loves and failed
early marriage, and on to his romance and marriage to 'Winnie'
Still a young man he becomes interested in 'Civil-Rights' movement A.N.C. his
life up to that point, as was the case with the majority of 'Native' South Africans,
was as a second-class-citizen under the rule of a 'White' Government who
enforced 'Aparthied'
He soon became seen as a leading figure in the movement and was seen as a
threat to the ruling authorities.
Following a campaign of disruptive activity 'Nelson' along with several other members
of the movement were sought, captured and brought to trial.
The sentence could easily have been 'death' however probably because of world
opinion, and not wishing to have the prisoners seen as Martyrs they were condemned
to life imprisonment.
They were taken to 'Robben island' in 1964 and had to tolerate inhuman living conditions,
hard labour, and abuse at first from the guards.
It was never intended that the prisoners would ever be released, however after 18 years
they were moved to a prison on the mainland where, conditions were a little better.
World-Wide opinion couple with trade sanctions eventually persuaded the government
of South Africa to reappraise the situation.
'Nelson Mandela' had served some 27 years of imprisonment, now the authorities were
talking to him.
Although he had many bitter thoughts and memories, 'Nelson Mandela' knew he would
have to approach the future with caution and send out a message of conciliation.
This is a story as written by 'Nelson Mandela'
He truly was a remarkable human being, this film is so worth taking time out to watch.
We might feel we know the story, the film takes us to a new level of understanding.
Great performance from 'Idris Elba' as 'Nelson Mandella'
Special Features-
Commentary with director - 'Justin Chadwick'
'Mandela' the leader we knew, the man we didn't.
Behind the scenes featurette.
Production Design -Costumes and make-up.
The music and Sound - Special Effects - Theatrical Trailer
Feature - Audio Description.
Run Time - 146 minutes
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2014
Having visited Robben Island 'Cape Town where Mr Mandela was held prisoner found this film to be of great interest. Idris Elba played his role brilliantly. An all round brilliant film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2014
Great film illustrating the life of the greatest leader of our time - good to show young people that there is always a need to challenge and defy conventional wisdom.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2014
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a very well delivered biographical film about Nelson Mandela. Historically, he will be remembered as a great man who touched many people hearts across the globe.The man maintained great dignity and upholded strong principles in pursuit of the long struggle to achieve freedom against the brutality and cruetly that affected South African society. This is known as the apartheid. There are enduring qualities I strongly admire about the man.Sadly, he passed away last year. The whole world paid homage to a great man.

The movie chronicles the early life of Mandela. He stood up for the rights for of the people. He campaigned for equal rights of black people through the streets.The man served a long sentense in prison for 27 years, committing acts in overthrowing the government. The government divided the country through segregation. Some of, the scenes are distressing, distrubing and hollowing. It shows the scale of the problem affecting the nation at the time. Nation experienced an civil unrest during Mandela's imprisonment. Numerous campaigns launched calling for the release of Mandela, as the country was in turmoil. The movie depicts the injustice and bruality shown by the government and prison authorities.The movie provides an excellent potrayal of Mandela surfacing as a political activist and as a family man. The strain took a toll in family life. It cover the key aspects of the man life including the eventual release of the man. He intended to buid a better future. The man showed no remorse and intent on revenge. The country needed to be reunited desperately, as division of the country was broken down and to create harmony in society. Violences in the streets escalated, stirring global attention. Nelson Mandela continued to campaign for peace and being elected for government. Sanctions imposed on the nation, which led to the country being banned in international sports.

The movie is beautifully filmed and storytelling is first class. The attention to details are superb, showing the exact locations. It feels so real and believable, as if we are recapturing the life of Mandela as unfolded in the film. I found the film engaging, moving and touching. Idris Elba and Noami Harris got a strong feel for the characters and plays the parts superbly. Fundamental questions are raised about equality, injustice and humanity facing the country. It is one of the best films about the great man, who leaves behind a powerful legacy and will be sadly missed. I was totally mesmerized by the film and felt tears flowing to my eyes. It deserves full marks, for delievering a powerful and compelling piece of film making. I would recommend the film if you express an interest in biographical film making.
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on 6 May 2014
Version I saw: UK cinema release
Actors: 7/10
Plot/script: 7/10
Photography/visual style: 7/10
Music/score: 6/10
Overall: 7/10
The Academy proved me wrong on this one: I thought that the death of Nelson Mandela would spur them on to choose this film ahead of those more deserving of Oscar titles. As it turned out, they ignored the momentum of history, or if they were affected at all, poured it into the somewhat more deserving 12 Years a Slave.
The above sounds like I am damning Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom as a poor film, so I hasten to add that it is not this, by any means. It was fairly beaten, but only by other projects that are *really* special. Mandela features two central performances - by Idris Elba and Naomie Harris as his second wife Winnie - that at least deserve to be considered alongside the finest of the year. The screenplay delivers the important messages in fine show-don't-tell fashion while still addressing the complexities, and also shows us less complimentary sides to the characters, as all the best biopics do.
The cinematography is excellent too (although not up to the ground-breaking standards of Gravity), delivering some absolutely beautiful shots, especially of the South African countryside, but crucially it is always in service to the story. The music barely impinges on the attention for most of the running time, but this is often the mark of the best scores, and said by many to be a sign that the composer has done a good job.
Nelson Mandela himself never got to see it, but I think he would have been pleased with what they have done with his memoirs, and the events of his life.
For my full review, see my independent film blog on Blogspot, Cinema Inferno: [...]
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on 29 May 2014
I think there was potential for this to be a great film because the acting was fantastic and clearly it was taking on a fascinating subject. However to cover 90 years in this timeframe is not going to be easy if not impossible. If you have read the autobiography/other good biographies, you will quickly realise that the film jumps over fairly significant events - eg only one trial is ever shown in the film. In this case the film is a quick summary. On the other hand, if you don't know much about Mandela's life, it may be that you will find the film jumps quickly forward and you are left confused about developments.

I also found the makeup used for Idris Elba during the final scenes was ridiculous. He doesn't look like Mandela but initially they seem to let this go and it was fine. I don't know what they thought they were doing towards the end - to me even the photo on the DVD box/film posters looks odd. It was so poor I found it distracting.

That said, the acting is great from our two UK stars and also you learn something about Winnie Mandela, why they grew apart and why she acted as she did. There are more plus points than negative. Love the way the film does show the changing attitudes which start occuring post 1970s and our Wembley Stadium made an appearance too! :)

All in all, I prefered "Invictus" which covered one event and could therefore go into greater depth.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2014
Little Nelson Mandela was given the name 'trouble-maker' by his father but all he wanted to do was to make his family proud when he grew up. And he did. He became a lawyer and hoped one day to be wealthy and influential but his goal changed when he was approached by members of the African National Congress, fighting for the same equality and freedom enjoyed by white South Africans. While Mandela (Idris Elba) resisted joining at first, more and more oppressive and restrictive laws targeting blacks only made him change his mind. An articulate and educated speaker, he soon attracted the attention of hundreds of black civilians, as well as the fear and hatred of the white authorities. Charged with terrorism, instead of receiving the death prison which would have made Mandela and fellow political prisoners martyrs, they were imprisoned for life. Who could have guessed that one day he would be freed and elected President of South Africa, a South Africa where apartheid had been abolished?

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013) is based on the best selling book Long Walk To Freedom While I haven't read the book, the movie left me wanting more. I wanted more detail about his long years held prisoner, about the treatment he received during that time, how he coped with such appalling conditions for the longest part of 27 years. I wanted to know more of the behind-the-scenes pressure on the authorities to release him, how he managed to be a political influence even from behind bars, and the extent of his wife, Winnie's (Naomie Harris), involvement in the Soweto riots and his release. I wanted to know about more about what was going on amongst the white leaders, why he was offered his freedom, (which he initially turned down), what influences caused that. It has been said in another review that the riots in Soweto were influential in his release yet there is little or no mention of that in the movie.

At times people speak of Nelson Mandela as if he were a saint but he was foremost a man and I think that the movie doesn't completely demonstrate his inner strength, or that he was an astute lawyer with the calculating mind of a politician, more than capable of manipulating his situation and fighting for his cause. The movie left me wanting to know more, to learn, and that isn't a bad thing.

VJ - Movies and Books World
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12 Years A Slave [DVD] [2013]
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