By his own admission, as he freely admitted to the audience at the screening, Elba was not a trained musician, but felt the joyous obsession and passion for music gave him the confidence of taking on the task of producing a worthwhile record. In fact he stated he could quite easily talk for much longer on the subject of music rather than his chosen profession of acting. He knew in his head in what path he wanted his 'labour of love' to travel, with the love of his father firmly in the mix. As seen in the documentary, his love of music sprang from his family environment and especially from his father who was quite clearly a charismatic figure (there is great footage of the man holding court at a party). It is no stretch to imagine this is where Elba gets the smooth charm he so effortlessly exerts to people around him, which is particularly telling as in the film on several occasions we witness this charm being used in order for Elba to achieve his desired goal, be it to get an artist to contribute to the album or quelling what could soon be a full blown argument in the recording studio. Indeed, Elba definitely had his work out for him, coming from a position which meant the thought from some quarters being "Here comes another hot celebrity actor 'playing' at being a musician." He arrived in South Africa with a small close knit musical crew and then set about employing local musicians in order to obtain that authentic sound he so wanted. Some of the doubters of Elba's genuine sincerity could be found among this number, sensing this actor could just be cashing in on the strength of the mantle of the Mandela name. Soon all such doubts would be laid to rest.
In all I found 'Mandela, My Dad And Me' to be a very interesting look at Idris Elba, giving us a glimpse of the man behind the persona. Something that in these days of 'reality TV overkill with it's scripted elements, makes it refreshing viewing. The film contains some touching, poignant moments and some quite humourous exchanges. Overall I found Elba's desire to show himself warts and all to be endearing, especially as such a time as this when I am sure the last thing you would want is a camera in your face. I believe it was the unconditional love he had for his father (and family) which spurred him on to complete the project. In my opinion a beautiful ode to his dad.