Pages Navigation Menu

WINNIE (review)

Written by Andre Pieterse and Darrell Roodt
Directed by Darrell J. Roodt
Starring Jennifer Hudson, Terrence Howard and Elias Koteas

Winnie Mandela is a controversial political figure, to say the least. In her native Africa, she was once known as the “Mother of the Nation”. While her husband, Nelson, spent 27 years in prison, she was left to fight his non-violent fight for a free Africa in his stead. Their peaceful approach was met with nothing but violence from the ruling African government and it became eventually impossible for Winnie to pacify the masses of angry Africans that were looking to her for guidance. She started to make choices that violated human rights, which got her into trouble with the law and naturally took her out of favour with her people. Hers is a complicated journey that deserves to be told and explored in detail. With WINNIE, a film by Darrell J. Roodt, her story is told, but the details needed to comprehend it fully have been sorely foregone in favour of underdeveloped melodrama.

WINNIE has two saving graces, and they are lead actors, Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard, as Mr. and Mrs. Mandela. They make the most out of the material they are given, bringing full bodied character to the famous figures they are tasked with portraying. It is what they are surrounded by that makes all their efforts nearly for not. The South African struggle against the atrocities of the Apartheid is one of the most horrifying the world has ever known but Roodt’s interpretation of the events is so oversimplified that it is often hard to take seriously. Hudson and Howard are compelling enough to pass the time, but the Mandela’s definitely deserved a better director to tell their rich history.

2 sheep

Your turn!

How many sheep would you give Winnie?



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I must agree with this well written article/blog in which this film needed a much better and seasoned Director and Producer without question. Darrell Roodt, Director did not make the best choices when presenting Winnie Mandela to the world, since he is South African by birth? This film should not have been shown at the Toronto International Film Festival(TIFF)in 2011, just a bad decision for an accomplished Director, so I thought. This film was incomplete with poor sound and editing, but it was shown by the Director and Producer,so let the bad reviews start Mr. Director. Darrell Roodt is currently playing the blame game in which he is saying it’s the Producers fault. He appears to taken no ownership for this film, so who Directed this film Mr. Roodt? I feel really sad and sorry for Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard who did their best with what they were given by Producer and Director. I guess Darrell Roodt is the only Director in South African? I will never support his films again, just a sad case of GREED AND FAME on both the Director and Producer parts at Winnie Mandela cost. The Oscar Buzz has been removed since the TIFF reviews by Vanity and The Hollywood Report. This film has no U.S. distributors, so this makes a clear statement of a panned film. Most critics are still giving this movie, mixed reviews before and after changes, so what really changed Mr. Roodt?

  3. That’s quite a comment and I do agree that a different director would have made all the difference here. It is cheap looking at times and I often felt bad for the wasted talent of the lead cast. Thanks for commenting!

Share Your Thoughts