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‘Mandela’ Biopic a Manual on How to Lead

Photo: Courtesy Photo, License: N/A

Courtesy Photo

Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba, left) and other ANC defendants portray the 1963-64 Rivonia trial in 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.'


Mandela is no Gandhi, but the film is an honest portrayal of an honest man who didn’t mind reinventing himself and following his own conscience instead of those who were demanding blood for blood. Best of all, the father of South Africa and, arguably, the most beloved political figure in history, never set to become a hero and never felt like one.

“I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities and a thousand unremembered moments produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people,” Mandela wrote in Long Walk to Freedom. “There was no particular day on which I said, ‘Henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people’; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.”

In that sense, the movie (gorgeously shot by Hyde Park on Hudson’s Lol Crawley) is a triumph because it shows how a man can stand up to injustice, suffer for it and come out of it all full of scars but with his dignity intact.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Dir. Justin Chadwick; writ. William Nicholson, Nelson Mandela; feat. Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Terry Pheto (PG-13)
Opens December 25 at some Santikos

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