Recently, the film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" was released, right around the time the former president died. For those who do not know much about the late Nelson Mandela, the movie is a good choice as we learn a lot about him and the influences on his life.
"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" begins in the early-1940s and ends in the mid-1990s. At the beginning of the story, Mandela (played by Idris Elba) is an ambitious young lawyer in South Africa. Because he is black, his potentials are confined by apartheid laws. This cruel caste system make his life and the other blacks and Indians of the country miserable. Eventually, the charismatic leader, also quite a ladies man, gets involved in the African National Congress (ANC), an anti-apartheid group and becomes its most popular leader. The group tries to avoid violence, but when the white-supremacist government uses military tactics on civilians, the ANC bombs a few places, which land them in prison in the mid-1960s. Mandela and his colleagues were in prison until the early-1990s, when international pressures were forcing the white minority South African leadership to back away from apartheid. Nonetheless, there was still a lot of tension between the blacks and whites of South Africa. Eventually, Mandela was elected president.
Idris Elba is excellent as Nelson Mandela. He has a commanding presence, and he does a good job with his accent. Also, he does an impressive job showing him go from a young man to an old one, from a rabble rouser to a statesman.
The movie shows Mandela's relationship with his wife, Winnie Mandela, who also spent quite a bit of time in prison. She is played very well by Naomi Harris. Like her husband, she is a very powerful leader. But the cruelties of apartheid lead her to make different choices than her husband's.
"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" is a very impressive film. It is a compelling and enveloping history lesson about a significant set of individuals and their influence on the world.