Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

It is, too.

Justin Chadwick’s retelling of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography offers a 140-minute slog through the South African revolutionary’s life highlights, tells us nothing about the man we didn’t already know, and leaves us altogether unenlightened. It’s a common problem with biopics of famous figures, but here it seems all the more damaging. It may be a rare case of the man being greater than the legend.

Try as he might, Idris Elba cannot channel the enigmatic mix that made Mandela so captivating, and so much ground is covered that the film slides into the common biopic pitfall of rushing through events. Mandela talks to Winnie for the first time in one scene; in the next they are getting married.

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