There was a trend to the movies on my screening list for day ten at TIFF. In all four of the films I attended, a lead actress shone in a plum role; however, all four of cases also fell short of providing a film to match her talents. I started the day with a double shot of Canadian content and began with Winnie, the Canadian-South African co-produced biopic about Winnie Mandela, the political activist and former wife of President Nelson Mandela, played by Jennifer Hudson.
Winnie might not win Hudson a second Oscar, but all those who scoffed at Hudson back in 2006 and deemed that she was not a serious and/or talented actress will surely eat crow after attending a screening of Winnie. (However, the film could score Hudson her first Genie nod.) Hudson dives into her subject with a dual edge and reveals the bipolar sides of Winnie, both humane and maniacal. She does her subject justice and she gives a performance that refuses to shy away from the controversy of the former Mrs. Mandela. Most importantly, Hudson wears the suffering of Winnie’s thirty-odd years of political power, so even when Winnie becomes more like a devious mobster than a devoted philanthropist, her humanity rings true.