This past Monday I had the privilege of attending the Clint Eastwood directed feature "Invictus" starring Morgan Freeman and Coach Mitchell's favorite, Matt Damon. Freeman plays South African President Nelson Mandela while Damon stars a Francois Pienaar, the South African Rugby team captain. The movie uses Rugby as the backdrop of a divided country following the end of the apartheid. The story follows Nelson Mandela after his release from prison to his election as president of the country to Mandela using the game of Rugby to unite the divided citizens of South Africa. Like every other Freeman and Damon movie that I have seen, both actors were tremendous. Even impressive is Damon's South African dialect. Apparently this role hit home for Damon, who as a teen would wear "Free Nelson Mandela" ribbons.
When watching "Invictus" I kept having to remind myself that this is a true story and as a person that enjoys learning history, I really do not know anything about the apartheid and to be completely honest anything about the country of South Africa as a whole. Even more depressing is my lack of knowledge on President Mandela. While I know the basics story of Mandela's life, the traits of leadership, knowledge, and desire to gain knowledge displayed by Mandela throughout the movie are what I view as admirable. I will definetly do more reading on the life and leadership of Mandela.
While I enjoyed the movie, I thought it was good but not as good as 'The Blind Side.' However, my inherent movie biases clearly are the deciding factor as I naturally enjoy stories about high school and college football in the South than Rugby in another country. Plus, it is very tough for me to get excited about another country winning in any International competition, including the ones the United States does not even participate. Furthermore, my knowledge of Rugby is very limited. Thus, in a lot of the Rugby scenes I have no idea what was going on or the strategy being used. Nonetheless, "Invictus" is an uplifting story that I am surprised took 14 years to be told and if given the opportunity to take the family to see a movie this holiday season, I will recommend "Invictus."
In the words of Matt Damon, “‘Invictus’ matters, because of its wonderful message that’s completely nonpartisan. It’s about healing and coming together. It’s an appealing story, a nice thing to put out for the holidays.” So why not take some time away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and go enjoy an uplifting movie?