Nelson Mandela, the anti-Apartheid leader who opposed his government's blatant racism and later corrected it by becoming the President of South Africa, recently passed away. However, his journey, his message, his dedication to equality for everyone still exists. In fact, it lives on in the wonderfully understated bio-pic, "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom".
Based on Mandela's stirring autobiography, Idris Elba stars in a powerhouse performance as the charismatic activist. Portraying a man hellbent on altering his country for the better. Defying public policy, first by force, then later realizing that peaceful resistance was his best course of action.
The movie skips by at a whiplash-inducing pace in covering Mandela’s formative years as a Johannesburg lawyer in the early 1940s, his growing outrage over his beloved country’s racial stance, induction into the nascent African National Congress, his frictional first marriage to fellow ANC activist Evelyn Mase and secondly to his somewhat harmonious pairing to the social worker Winnie Madikizela (Naomie Harris).
Though the film is slight-- certainly, compared to the actual life and work of this "man for all ages"-- Elba capably carries this weighty subject matter on his strong shoulders with grace and grit. Often emoting through heavy prostethic make-up in scenes set during Nelson's later years.
Mandela is even painted as a "Ladies' man", just to show he too had his faults. Making him seem less a character, more an actual human being. A human being that forever changed the path of not only his freedom but, for his fellow people as well.