“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” excellently portrays a life of leadership

By: Brendan Kelly ~Staff Writer~

Xavier Student Activities Council in conjunction with Leadership Week showed the film, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” yesterday, Feb. 19. Despite lackluster attendance, the film is a must-see. The film stars Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela and Naomi Harris as Winnie Mandela. Harris steals the show despite playing a supporting role.

The film chronicles Nelson Mandela’s life from his childhood in a rural village up to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. Students may only remember Mandela in the later years of his life, but this film does an excellent job bringing to life Mandela’s formative years as a member of the African National Congress.

At this point in Mandela’s life, he resorted to using violent action in an attempt to thwart the unjust laws of the oppressive apartheid government, leading to Mandela’s arrest and imprisonment for 27 years on Robben Island. In addition to excellent cinematography, the scenes inside Robben Island are captivating, giving viewers a brief glimpse into Mandela’s trials and tribulations while in prison.

In one particularly moving scene, Mandela’s daughter is finally able to visit her father for the first time at age 16. Though they can’t touch each other through the glass, she promises her father that they will one day embrace each other in a hug.

Though Mandela’s story is known only to varying degrees, it was beautiful to see it come to life through film. Many in the audience teared up when Mandela embraced his wife Winnie and daughters after Mandela was released from prison. Director Justin Chadwick was faced with the task of authentically portraying Mandela’s story, but this film met the challenge.

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