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Top Customer Reviews
The sport of Rugby Union is little known in America but the use of big name stars such as Morgan Freeman playing Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon playing the South African captain Francois Pienaar works well. They were both truly convincing. Damon in particular seemed to master the Afrikaans accent.
"Invictus" is touching. I frequently found myself almost moved to tears. The story of how Mandela was able to look beyond simple revenge and move forward in the spirit of reconciliation was uplifting. If only other nations could follow this example. Mandela had much to be bitter about but proved that he was a bigger man. In this way, he further condemned apartheid to the dustbin of history where it belongs.
Many people will know the story of the 1995 World Cup. South Africa as the host nation rose from the ranks of relative easy beats to become champions. However, in Clint Eastwood's hands we are provided with more than a simple tale of underdog victory. This is a very tired story. Instead, Eastwood homes in on both the bigger picture and the touching interplay between Mandela and Pienaar. Eastwood is getting better with age. When most men are in retirement at his age, he continues to dazzle. He is an inspiration himself.
Go see this film. Your effort will be rewarded.
The accompanying plot, of course, was the work of Nelson Mandela in using this victory and its team preparation to try to unify South Africa. From our own trip in 1994, when the country was just opening up, we had an idea that there was much unrest and volatility. The nation was still racially divided, although the Apartheid enforced by a distinct white minority had just ended.
Mandela has never received credit for the job he did in keeping South Africa's peace, while trying to encourage foreign investment. He saw that merely seizing white-owned businesses and infrastructure would only be looting of a fixed amount of wealth. No growth could result from the types of activities that were occurring in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, where white minorities had been ousted from power.
As the new President of South Africa, representing an overwhelming black majority, Mandela took a long term view of what was needed. He alienated a considerable portion of his own party to implement his program of racial reconciliation.
The movie provides an exceptional, well integrated blend of sports and far-seeing political strategy.
Some critics have heaped praise on Invictus, claiming that this represents director Clint Eastwood's work "at the top of his game." Other critics have carped about what they see as "trite" dialog. Perhaps if Mandela had been ranting against his racist predecessors and, even more, against the US, they would have enjoyed the dialog more.Read more ›
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Mandela faced perhaps even more formidable challenges upon becoming the first post-Apartheid president of South Africa than he had trying to end Apartheid -- how does one manage this kind of change, this kind of forgiveness, this kind of reconciliation? Perhaps the most important scene in the film for me was the one in which Mandela discusses with Francois Pienaar, the South African rugby team's captain, what kind of leadership philosophy one needs to have, particularly when faced with a seemingly hopeless task that most have written off as unobtainable. Leadership by example is important here; courage in the face of adversity and perseverance even as all appear negative is also key.
Mandela is played admirably by Morgan Freeman; Freeman has been a friend to Mandela for many years, and even so found the role daunting. How does one portray a living legend? Francois Pienaar is played by Matt Damon; Damon recounts in press information for the film his meeting with Pienaar, and how Pienaar, an actual rugby player, is so much larger physically than Damon (who, despite his athletic build, is of a more average size). Clint Eastwood, now a master film maker, was able through his camera work to disguise this fact -- rugby players in general are larger than average!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great movie based on the book Playing The Enemy.It deals with Nelson Mandela's attempt to bring together the people of South Africa and using the game of Rugby to do so after the... Read morePublished 12 days ago by stuart
The movie is great. I had the closed captions on and the there was a delayed of 45 second between the txt and voice. Made the experience horrible.Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
Fantastic movie. So memorable; I think of it often. What Mandela did was ingenious. I learned so much that I had not known about this time and place in history. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Soquel Molly
Enjoyed the movie after watching the ESPN documentary. Documentary was better, but movie held its own.
Easy to watch feel good flick.
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