Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
The film tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa's rugby team as they make their historic run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship match. Written by
Matt Damon informed Clint Eastwood about Francois Pienaar's distinct physique: "You know, this guy is huge!" Eastwood replied, "Hell, you worry about everything else. Let me worry about that." By structuring set-ups and camera angles, Eastwood was able to make the average-height Damon look about Pienaar's height. See more »
When Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) leaves the bus on the beginning of their tour of South Africa in 1994, a closeup on his feet shows the triple stripe logo of Adidas on his shoes. That logo was used beginning 1997, and before that the logo was the old Trefoil. See more »
High School Boy:
[seeing passing motorcade]
Who is it, sir?
High School Coach:
It's the terrorist Mandela, they let him out. Remember this day boys, this is the day our country went to the dogs.
See more »
The Warner Bros logo is the 90s era logo, in keeping with the time period of the film. See more »
Morgan Freeman's made a career out of playing inspirational second fiddles who always steal the movie. Now with Clint Eastwood's "Invictus", we finally get to see this amazing actor take front and center and run with it. The movie, based on a John Carlin novel about the event that changed South Africa, fits Freeman like a glove and it's hard to imagine he's not a front-runner for that lead actor Oscar he has so deserved for so long now.
He plays Nelson Mandela as a born leader, an authoritative yet empathetic uniter who preached forgiveness and looked for common ground when elected president of South Africa. His election caused unrest among whites, and blacks still had hard feelings for years-worth of oppression. The one thing he saw that could unite was the Rugby team, a shamefully rag-tag bunch facing extinction because many still saw the team as a left-over from apartheid. Mandela knew ending the team would mean more unrest among white Rugby fans so instead he presented a challenge to team captain Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon); win the world cup,unite us.
Do they? It's all predictably plotted and there are times where you wish Eastwood had employed an announcer to explain what's happening on the Rugby field but the great themes of forgiveness, unity, and determination make this a sports movie well worth seeing. There are really wonderful elements here. The relationship between Mandela's white and black security detail. The Rugby team reaching out to the community by going to the slums and teaching kids how to play. Pienaar's visit to Mandela's prison cell to understand the man's courage. The people of South Africa rallying into something of a community. And the bond between Mandela and Pienaar, very well played by both Freeman and Damon, of two men looking for their country's pride, it's center, and it's heart. By the final Rugby match, the movie has built up such good-will that any predictability or confusion on screen becomes an afterthought to the joy and excitement on display. Eastwood's film shows how sports can unify people, a simple yet inspirational and lovable message that should leave audiences cheering.
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