Jennifer Hudson may land her second Oscar with her new movie, Winnie, in which she plays Winnie Mandela, the wife of the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela and a South African politician herself. The trailer which was released today looks like a tour de force in acting about an amazingly strong woman. The movie seems to really be pushing the fact that behind every great man, is a great woman.
The trailer showcases Winnie Mandela’s struggle to overcome Apartheid during her husband’s imprisonment. “I will not allow the selfless efforts of my husband to be abandoned,” she says in the trailer. “I will continue the struggle for a free and equal South Africa.”
The film looks like it shows the controversy surrounding Winnie’s activist actions as well. Though she is referred to as the ‘Mother of the Nation’, others don’t support her, mostly due to her alleged involvement in several human rights abuses, including the 1988 kidnapping of 14-year old ANC activist Stompie Moeketsi, who was later murdered.
Here’s the official film synopsis:
“This film reveals the enigma that is Winnie Mandela. A sensitive depiction, Winnie portrays her life’s journey amidst the unwavering love between her and Nelson Mandela, and their unfaltering commitment to the struggle for democracy in South Africa. Winnie takes the audience on an epic voyage of understanding – painting a vivid portrait of one of the world’s most remarkable women.”
The film has been finished for over a year but has still not come out in theaters. Though Hudson’s performance has gotten good reviews, the film has not gotten the same. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter wrote after it screened at The Toronto Film Festival last year:
“Working from a clunky screenplay he co-wrote with Andre Pieterse, adapted from Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob’s biography, Roodt begins milking unearned emotions the minute the movie starts. A stick-fighter who can hold her own against the boys as well as recite Shakespeare, pre-teen Winnie (Unathi Kapela) is instantly established as a proto-feminist, insisting that women shouldn’t be restricted to cooking, cleaning and making babies. Cut to the pensive child contemplating the panoramic view from her Transkei Mountains birthplace, while Laurent Eyquem’s syrupy score froths up into the first of many heart-tugging surges.”
The film shows Winnie watch her husband go to jail and then land in prison herself, which included months of solitary confinement. Well a faulty plot has never stopped anyone from winning an Oscar before and we all know Hudson is capable of doing it. Even if it doesn’t receive any Oscar nominations, it is great to see Winnie’s story exposed.