As the world still mourns Nelson Mandela’s passing on Dec. 5, there’s a slight comfort and learning opportunity with this movie. With seven different movies about Nelson Mandela’s life, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is the only movie authorized by Nelson Mandela and his family.
Idris Elba and Naomie Harris as Nelson and Winnie Mandela are a match made in heaven. Elba, who was recently nominated for Best Actor by the Golden Globes for his role in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, is strong and poised, and with the spot of makeup magic, gave the audience an intense snapshot of Nelson Mandela from a young boy to a senior citizen. Whereas, Harris is feisty and mild tempered as the former first lady of South Africa. Both actors portray the couple as they studied their behavior and work for a long period of time.
As expected, the movie was long. Although worth it, I wonder why the movie focused a great deal of time on his first marriage and his promiscuous ways. I know all leaders are not perfect and have their own flaws. But the focus on that particular part of his life was not detrimental to the story line. I wish the movie would have shed light more on the work he did once he was elected president in 1994.
On Dec. 12, Movie Scene Queen hosted a special screening of the movie and invited Pittsburgh Public Schools students and District leaders. Student members of the African American Center for Advanced Studies (AACAS) Executive Committee, a group of PPS Black gifted students, and young African American men a part of the WE PROMISE program, a District initiative to mentor male students and help them obtain the Pittsburgh Promise, were in attendance.
“The only thing I knew about Nelson Mandela was that he fought to end apartheid and spent 27 years in prison. Everything else that happened in the movie, I never knew” says AACAS executive committee member and Brashear High School junior, Makeda Drew, 16.
Drew and roughly 40 other students spent 139 minutes learning the multi-layered story of Nelson Mandela. “I think it’s important for us to be exposed to a great leader. The movie was inspirational to see what changes one man could accomplish because of what he believed in,” says Drew.
The movie has already seen cinematic success in South Africa. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie debuted at No. #1 during its opening weekend (Nov. 28 release date) and has currently grossed an estimated $1.2 million.
4 STARS: In addition to the many local initiatives to honor Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy, let’s maximize on this holiday break and support this movie. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a must see for everyone.