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Winnie Mandela (2013)



Average Rating: 4.3/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 29

Winnie Mandela takes few chances and delves only superficially into its subject's life, making it feel more like a too-earnest made-for-TV movie than a proper biopic.


Average Rating: 4.3/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 12

Winnie Mandela takes few chances and delves only superficially into its subject's life, making it feel more like a too-earnest made-for-TV movie than a proper biopic.



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User Ratings: 2,837

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Movie Info

Starring Academy Award (R) winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) and Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow), WINNIE MANDELA is an epic story of love, sacrifice and courage. Moving from a remote tribal village to the sprawling metropolis of Johannesburg, South Africa, a proud young Winnie (Jennifer Hudson) soon found love with a rising political star, Nelson Mandela (Terrence Howard). When Nelson was imprisoned for protesting the brutal Apartheid government, Winnie worked tirelessly

Dec 3, 2013


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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (29)

It would have benefited the film if Roodt had been as bold with the mechanics of his storytelling as he is with his inclusion of the title character's less savory moments. But its strengths, particularly the two lead performances, far outweigh its flaws.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source: The Wrap
The Wrap
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Winnie Mandela'' really stumbles when it comes to depicting the couple's painful separation, which the film suggests resulted more from politics than Winnie's infidelity.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite the marquee names and their obvious talent, the film feels like a made-for-TV movie.

September 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Distant and obvious, it takes a story with many angles and reduces its edges, becoming a glorified TV movie.

September 5, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Winnie Mandela is a simplistic look at a complex figure.

September 5, 2013 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ms. Hudson's frequent and distracting costume changes are a sign of deeper problems in a movie that wants to be all things to all people, especially women.

September 5, 2013 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The end credits song's beautifully delivered, full-throttle emotional bombast only serves as a dismaying reminder of how much the film otherwise lacks any similar passion and soul.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source:

The audacity and determination of its subject doesn't find its way into this shallow and superficial biopic.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source:

This biopic is part hagiography, part expose, and gravely incoherent.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Orange County Register
Orange County Register

In the end, hers is a journey as complicated and fascinating as that of South Africa itself.

September 10, 2013 Full Review Source:

Though Winnie Mandela is a more-than-serviceable classroom recounting of events, it fails to reach much higher than that, and deals with identity issues when deciding whether to challenge your views or simply glorify real-life events.

September 9, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

Sometimes it can be strangely said that it's a miracle when a certain film even exists, warts and all. So let's cut to the chase, and what really matters in this immensely important movie. Not the least which is, 'Strike a woman, and you strike a rock.'

September 8, 2013 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

A warts-and-all biopic which focuses on its subject's childhood, college days and marriage while making short shrift of her transition into a war criminal.

September 7, 2013 Full Review Source:

The film's tonal inconsistencies speak less to the struggles of its titular subject than to its own grasp-exceeding ambitions.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Biopic is well acted but uneven and violent.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Affecting biographical drama about the controversial anti-apartheid crusader, wife of fellow South African racial-equality advocate Nelson Mandela.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

'Winnie' is no masterpiece, but not nearly as bad as the early reviews.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source:

From the swelling melody on the soundtrack that opens the film to the Wind Beneath My Wings-like ballad that closes it, Winnie Mandela ... feels less like history come alive than Hollywood hagiography at its most blandly sentimental.

September 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram/
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/

ultimately too earnest for its own good

September 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Racket
Film Racket

Audience Reviews for Winnie Mandela

This is a good biopic on Winnie Mandela, the wife of the late Nelson Mandela. The film takes a look at her life and how she met Nelson, but at the same time, it does leave a bit to be desired because I felt that the film could have been much better than what was delivered before a viewing audience. Winnie Mandela is a good film worth seeing, but you'll quickly realize that it does fall short of its potential at times. This is a retelling in a romanticized way of her life, and its accuracy can be called into question. However the performances are engaging and the cast is impressive, despite a few imperfections here and there. Terrence Howard is good in the role of Nelson Mandela; however he is not the best choice to play him. I found Morgan Freeman and Idris Elba to be far superior choices, and with that being said, Howard does what he can with the material, and he is pretty good, but he is far from memorable as well. The film works well and it does manage to be entertaining from start to finish, but it's obvious that the film's script has its limitations; therefore Winnie Mandela is an average biopic that never goes in depth into its subject, which is a shame because Winnie Mandela and her late husband are fascinating icons. The film is your typical hollywoodized version of facts, and though good, I wanted more actuality to the story. Nonetheless, Winnie Mandela is a good film, but one that should have been closer to the real life story because, let's face it, it's a fascinating story, one that deserves to be properly told. With that being said, the definitive film of Winnie Mandela's life has yet to be made, but for now, this is a good film to watch and get to k now the person who stood by Nelson Mandela while he was in prison.
December 28, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

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