“A few weeks ago, the first black President of the United States saw a movie about the first black President of South Africa. Aside from that White House screening for Barack Obama, only four theaters are currently showing Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which goes into wider release on Christmas Day. So viewers curious to see how the movies have portrayed Nelson Mandela — the lawyer, outlaw and convict who compelled the Boer government to give equal rights to its black majority — must forage through Netflix or Amazon.com for older films.Perhaps no other historical figure could have seen his screen self played so favorably, and by such distinguished actors: Sidney Poitier, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover, Terrence Howard, Idris Elba, Dennis Haysbert and, in a supporting role in the 2009 Endgame, Clarke Peters. In that TV movie, the main role, a member of the African National Congress negotiating Mandela’s release, is taken by Chiwetel Ejiofor, the star of 12 Years a Slave.The burden of Mandela movies is that almost all of them could be called 95 Years a Saint. They are modern versions of Old Hollywood’s Biblical epics that tiptoe reverently around the teachings and personality of Jesus. And unlike Martin Scorsese’s 1988 film in which the Savior questions his divinity, there has been no Last Temptation of Nelson. Not that we’re demanding a Mandela exposé movie, but nobody has yet solved the trick of making this remarkable figure as complex as a great movie character should be. So far, most of his biopics have lacked in behavioral complexity and cinematic vitality. They are more suitable for school auditoriums than movie theaters.”
I don’t agree. I think Morgan Freeman in Invictus, did show a flawed but great leader, with depth and complexity.