Directed by Richard Attenborough
Nominated for 11 Oscars, Won 8
Wins Include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Writing (Screenplay), Best Cinematography, Best Art-Set Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing
I don't really need to give much of a summary of this movie. The title sort of explains what the film is going to be about. It's about Gandhi, a man we've all pretty much heard of. However, I must confess, I knew extremely little about Gandhi before watching this film. So maybe I will give a little summary, for those readers who are slightly ignorant of who exactly Gandhi was (like me).
In 1893, a young lawyer named Gandhi is thrown off a train in South Africa for being an Indian, and traveling in first class. Upon further looking into the laws of the country, Gandhi sees how much prejudice is against his people, and starts a completely non-violent protest for the rights of Indians in South Africa. While his first campaign is not completely successful (not many people came out when he was telling people that 1000 people would come). However, word begins to spread via his several arrests and complete peacefulness and non-violence of his many protests, South Africa relents by recognizing Indians in South Africa. Afterward, he returns to India, where he is now considered a national hero. But it seems India is not in peace either. India wants independence from the British Empire, and the Brits are fighting hard to keep India in it's control. Gandhi takes it upon himself to lead another peaceful revolution, one he couldn't imagine the scale that it reaches.
While I don't know much about Gandhi, I could see the way he was very memorialized in this film. Not much was shown of his flaws or really of his personality besides that he was passionate and peaceful. The film never really allows us to get to know Gandhi the person, only Gandhi the figure. Though I must give extensive credit to Ben Kingsley, who played Gandhi to perfection. While the film had a very idealistic approach to who Gandhi was, Kingsley was able to tap into the figure and play him so effortlessly. Kingsley was the absolute perfect casting choice, and I really don't know if they could've got someone better.
However, this seems to be about the only really great thing about the film (though I would credit the costumes, art direction and music to be quite lovely as well). The story was overlong and could've been much more trimmed to be a slightly more compact movie. I'm not asking for an hour and a half film, but trimming it to under 3 hours could've definitely been possible. But most of my problems were with the fact that, as mentioned above, we never really got to know who Gandhi really was inside. We had small glimpses and peeks into how we felt during various seasons, but we were never exposed to his true emotions and feelings towards what was going on around him.
But, nearing the end, the film didn't completely cop out, and showed that, even though Gandhi did eventually accomplish his goal of Independence from the British Empire, it wasn't 100% perfect. Their freedom caused a lot of fighting and violence between the people of India, and saw the country split into other countries, and also saw people of different religions fighting each other. This takes time to overcome, and freedom doesn't come without consequences.
Overall, the film dragged in several places and was informative for sure, but it was far from a perfect movie. Ben Kingsley is the star of the entire production and would not be nearly as good without his fantastic performance.
Emotional Connection- 6/10
Overall Enjoyment- 6/10
Overall Package- 7/10