Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013) - Review

In recent years, historical movies like Elizabethand Lincoln have found a way to show us more by giving us less — narrowing in on pivotal moments in the lives of great men and women to tell a bigger story. We no longer need them to be comprehensive to feel complete. If anything, traditional cradle-to-the-grave narratives likeGandhi now feel as musty and yellowed around the edges as a stack of old newspapers. Sadly, Justin Chadwick's Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is that kind of film. The life of the South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela would seem to be tailor-made for an inspiring Hollywood biopic. But Chadwick's frustratingly flat portrait works so hard to cram in every signature moment in the antiapartheid activist's life that it never gets beneath the surface of the man.

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