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: Stephen Holden
    Nov 28, 2013
    Mr. Elba’s towering performance lends “Long Walk to Freedom” a Shakespearean breadth.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  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. Jan 24, 2014
    This film made me cold and I'm so sorry because that. Mandela's death in last year it was a tragic event and I think that film is opportunistic. It seems a made-for-TV film. Idris Elba is great with Mandela role but makeup is unbelievable. Sorry, Mandela merits better films. Full Review »
  3. Jan 9, 2014
    It feels like the film builds to a climax that never arrives. The film does feature two great performances from Elba and Harris, the depictions of the race war and racism in South Africa is well handled, especially how out of control things got around the time of Mandela's release. There are some scenes which are great unto themselves such as Mandela's trial, several scenes during Mandela's time on Robben Island, Mandela greeting the people as the first black president as he is respectfully saluted by his white staff members and so forth. The final scene in particular had some great soul to it, and Elba's perfectly delivered monologue of one of Mandela's most famous quotes was very moving.

    Having said that, the film suffers from the problem of trying to cram too much detail and information about Mandela's story in South Africa into a two hour film, and, as a result, several scenes which could have built up to something poignant or could have been fleshed out are quickly glossed over. These scenes include but are not limited to the Sharpeville Massacre and the resulting wave of protest and oppression, Mandela's trial itself, his imprisonment on Robben Island, and the final stages from his release to his ascendancy to presidency.

    As a result, the film feels like there's a lot of plot to it, but not a lot of story, as if the film is running by a tick box list. "Oh, we did Sharpeville, good, let's move on. Oh, we did Mandela's trial, okay let's move on". No one moment is really given any real chance to shine, it feels like there's no real substance or consequence to them in terms of the characters and situation on screen. As a result, the final climax Mandela ascending to presidency when it comes, doesn't carry the emotional punch that it should.

    Despite these problems, I would still recommend that people would watch this film at least once.
    Full Review »