Winnie Mandela

2011 R 1h 44m DVD

Winnie Mandela

2011 R 1h 44m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
South Africa's Winnie Mandela, one of the most galvanizing public figures in modern history, comes to life in this absorbing biopic. Though it traces Winnie's whole story, the film hinges on the Apartheid-era imprisonment that would define her image.
Terrence Howard, Jennifer Hudson, Elias Koteas, Wendy Crewson, Angelique Pretorius
Darrell Roodt
Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1
English SDH
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.
age 15+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 15+
age 15+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that Winnie Mandela is an often-intense biographical drama about South Africa's first black first lady (played by Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson). The drama spans several decades during which black South Africans, led by Nelson Mandela, fought to overthrow the country's apartheid government, only to be met with armed reprisals by the Afrikaner police or military. The white authorities open fire on unarmed schoolchildren and harass and arrest African National Congress members and torture them. There's also black-on-black violence, including the practice of "necklacing" (a tire doused with gasoline is placed around a victim who's then lit on fire), a kidnapping that leads to a 14-year-old boy's death, and brutal treatment of accused collaborators/informants. Strong language includes a few uses of "f--k," "s--t," and "bastard."

Sexual Content

The Mandelas kiss and embrace.


Many scenes of violence, including torture (Winnie is made to stand on a brick, be completely silent, and not allowed to wash while undergoing 400 days of solitary confinement) and the killing of children by Afrikaner police and military forces. There's also black-on-black violence, most gruesomely depicted in the act of "necklacing" (a tire doused with gasoline is placed around a victim who's then lit on fire).


Occasional strong language includes a few uses of "f--k," "s--t," and "bastards."

Social Behavior

Positive messages about staying true to the cause of seeking justice and equality and being prepared to sacrifice comfort -- and even freedom -- for what you believe in most. There's also a very realistic portrayal of the price of being a freedom fighter and how even strong marriages have trouble withstanding an unthinkable, prolonged separation. And the movie doesn't shy away from making it clear that even the most beloved people can make huge mistakes.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Adults are shown drinking at restaurants and nightclubs; Winnie starts to drink during a criminal investigation.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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