Movie Review: Invictus

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, December 11, 2009 at 11:50 am.

invictusSummary: Based on the true story of Nelson Mandela’s first year in office.  One of the keys to racial unity in South Africa is the hugely popular, but historically color struck, rugby team. After joining forces with the team captain, Mandela encourages them to win the World Cup, hoping for a shift in the country’s consciousness.

Review: Expect this argument shortly after Invictus is released — after all these years, why is there finally a major film released about Nelson Mandela, but it revolves around soccer? Not Mandela’s amazing life, which is full of pain, resilience and bravery. Imagine a biopic on Ray Charles that was just about one performance. How about a film on Malcolm X that focused on his trip to Mecca and nothing else? This would clearly be a disappointment, especially if you were anticipating learning more about Nelson Mandela. The viewer, no matter how little they know about the leader who unjustly served 27 years in prison, will not learn anything new about this civil rights activist after watching Invictus.

Now that I got that out of the way, directed by 80-year-old Hollywood icon, Clint Eastwood, Invictus is a solid film with award potential.  The story is told extremely traditionally but packed with undeniable inspiration. Invictus could’ve easily moved along as another sports film, but with the backdrop of Apartheid and the constant humility from Mandela’s character, one cannot help but be moved, considering the politically divisive times we are living in today here in the U.S.

The crazy glue that holds Invictus together is the beyond flawless performance from Morgan Freeman as Mandela. His performance is better than the entire movie. However, what do you expect from Morgan Freeman? The two-time Oscar winner is the Tina Turner of film — he never disappoints.

Matt Damon, who plays the team captain of the rugby team, gives a wooden portrayal as Francois Pienaar that never gels in such an emotional flick.  Pienaar is supposed to be stoic and emotional, which are traits stereotypically given to White Africans, Damon seemed a bit lost — maybe he was in awe of Morgan Freeman.

No big shockers in Invictus. No amazing plot twists. No dose of the unexpected. You know the ending by the beginning credits. On the other hand, one can’t help but walk away feeling inspired, hopeful and confident that not only can our government change for the better, our people can change with it.

Invictus is in theaters today.

Click here to check out Morgan Freeman’s history in film!

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T. Henry Said on

There has actually been a great film about Mandela’s life called “Mandela” starring Danny Glover in the lead role and Alfre Woodward as Winnie Mandela. However, I do see what you’re saying about this movie being more sports oriented.


Hay T&R what up

Oscar Said on

Have to disagree about both Freeman AND Damon.

First on Freeman: If you mean “flawless performance” because Morgan nails what was given him then, yes, it WAS flawless. But unfortunately the character was not written as a multifaceted human being, the screen writer’s idea was to take a small snippet of Mandela and focus on that instead of a wide ranging view. Never the less, Morgan Freeman is, and remains, one of the finest living American actors today, and THE most respected of African American actors.

Now for Damon: Calling his performance “wooden” was an unkind cut. As was Freeman’s role, Damon was not given much to work with, but what he DID have was portrayed well enough to make the average viewer interested and invested in his character. No, it wasn’t a star vehicle role, but its purpose was plain…to give rugby ignorant Americans a point of contact for the Springbok team AND to add some box office glitz. Otherwise the film would have been weakened.

R. DeBues Said on

Sorry, couldn’t take that review seriously as soon as he said “hy is there finally a major film released about Nelson Mandela, but it revolves around soccer?”. There is an enormous difference between soccer and rugby. You say to a rugby player they are the same and he/she will likely want to punch you in the face. There is a saying, soccer is a gentleman’s game played by animals, rugby is an animals game played by gentleman, Thats the difference, rugby is fiercely physical, and you respect your opposition, you don’t go diving everywhere.
I’m sorry, the review may be good, but that just lost me.

paul Said on

terrible review
1: it’s rugby (the real man version of american football”)
2-There have been movies about mandela’s life
3- this movie isn’t about mandela or francois but the springbok post apartheid
4- it’’s a true story not fiction

so if people want to learn more about mandela, go to a library they have books there READ PEOPLE
oh don’t forget to pick up a book on rugby too.