Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Nov 23, 2013
    A cursory history lesson with no interest in probing the deeper or more complex implications of Mandela's positions and their relationship to his country's shifting landscape.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 45 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Nov 29, 2013
    Idris Elba is a gifted actor unable to hone in to one aspect of his iconic character. Director Justin Chadwick goes all in on the performance without an angle to challenge it. Long Walk of Freedom is the Mandela show, for better or worse. Full Review »
  2. chw
    Oct 18, 2014
    Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom was very slow for the first forty five minutes, but it started to get better and better, and throughout it all it was VERY well acted. Full Review »
  3. Sep 20, 2014
    Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom tells of the lengthy path toward ending apartheid and the racial war in South Africa

    The title of the
    Nelson Mandela biopic is befitting of the arduous task faced by Mr. Mandela. Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom tells of the lengthy path toward ending apartheid and the racial war in South Africa spanning some seventy years from childhood to inauguration.

    Most people know Nelson Mandela as he was portrayed by the media later in life; the seemingly soft spoken man who emerged from prison, endearingly called Madiba by his people. The Nelson Mandela portrayed by Idris Elba in Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom is a far more complex person, realistic and humanistic. Idris Elba does a commendable job at portraying Mandela though I found his accent to be a bit distracting. The acting is sublime by Naomie Harris who plays Winnie, Mandela’s second wife and I am disheartened that she was not formally recognized with a nomination for best supporting actress. There is something about the movie that feels slightly disconnected, as though character development was missing. I believe the issue with character development arises out of the inability to properly convey the urgency in needing change in South Africa. South Africa’s desperation and growth from apartheid is just as important as a character, and being a story about Nelson Mandela, the plot’s focus is lacking clarity. The story spans from Mandela’s childhood to inauguration, some seven decades, and in the process feels a bit slow moving, a highlight reel of sorts.

    It is a difficult task but marvelous attempt leaving the viewer with a good drama that feels like a historical documentary. In the end you feel as though you know Nelson Mandela but only part of the story of South Africa.

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