Metascore
37

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 16
  2. Negative: 4 out of 16
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Sep 6, 2013
    63
    A serviceable if sometimes overwrought biography, with solid performances and the courage to spotlight not only the heroics but the appalling misdeeds committed by the iconic Ms. Mandela.
  2. Reviewed by: Godfrey Cheshire
    Sep 6, 2013
    63
    Ultimately, Winnie is a woman who seems to embody the paradoxes of her country's turbulent history.
  3. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Sep 6, 2013
    50
    Despite the marquee names and their obvious talent, the film feels like a made-for-TV movie. It’s slight and episodic, with a weirdly scrupulous ambivalence about its subject, whom it seems torn between loving and loathing.
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Sep 5, 2013
    50
    Winnie Mandela is a simplistic look at a complex figure.
  5. Reviewed by: Sherilyn Connelly
    Sep 4, 2013
    50
    A story that probably could have been told better as a miniseries, the film's main strength is its performances.
  6. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Aug 30, 2013
    50
    Winnie begins as hagiography and ends in hellish confusion.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Sep 5, 2013
    40
    Any urgency the movie has comes from co-star Terrence Howard, a firebrand of an actor who can’t be contained by a paint-by-numbers script.
  8. Reviewed by: Aisha Harris
    Sep 4, 2013
    40
    Director Darrell Roodt’s by-the-numbers biopic suffers from clunky dialogue and shallow characterization, all while never deciding what to make of its leading lady.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Sep 4, 2013
    40
    Decently acted despite screenplay shortcomings.
  10. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Sep 3, 2013
    40
    This twist doesn’t so much probe the situation’s ambiguities as reflect the filmmaker’s uncertainty about how to properly portray a major historical figure in all her troubling complexity.
  11. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Aug 30, 2013
    40
    Solid performances are undercut by lack of storytelling integrity in this plodding biopic.
  12. Reviewed by: Ed Gibbs
    Aug 30, 2013
    40
    The source material is Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob's biography, and the period detail is spot on. Yet Winnie: the movie opts to wear its heart openly on its sleeve, and play it absurdly safe.
  13. Reviewed by: Rob Humanick
    Sep 6, 2013
    38
    The film's tonal inconsistencies speak less to the struggles of its titular subject than to its own grasp-exceeding ambitions.
  14. Reviewed by: Scott MacDonald
    Sep 4, 2013
    33
    Poor Hudson tries to live up to both the character and the clothes, but she isn’t anywhere near assertive enough a screen presence; whenever she’s supposed to be rallying a crowd or shouting down her oppressors she looks painfully aware of her own inadequacy.
  15. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Sep 5, 2013
    30
    The movie plays like a made-for-television quickie.
  16. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Sep 5, 2013
    30
    Like many a biopic before it, Winnie Mandela shoehorns an exceptional life into the standard template of a highlights reel, lurching from one Important Moment to the next.

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