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During his 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela regularly turned to a poem Called Invictus, and found profound inspiration.

During his time as President he continued to turn to this poem, and knowing it by heart, wrote it out long hand, and to the Captain of the Sprinboks passed it, who found profound inspiration.

During my life, I found profound inspiration in Nelson Mandela, and if a man can live in the unfair divided regime called apartheid, can spend so much time in prison, and emerge wise instead of rancorous, and can become president of a nation so divided, it raises the bar of human possibility, and inspires us to do better. If Mandela can solve the unsolvable problems of South Africa, if the Berlin Wall can fall, then cannot my own country's problem be solved, could there be peace in Nothern Ireland. All of these things which once seemed impossible have come to pass.

And Invictus the movie invites us to see Mandela in elegant action, uniting a divided nation, averting civil unrest and civil war, reviving the sport of apartheid (rugby), saving the Springboks from being disbanded, and playing a pivotal role in inspiring their triumphs.

Clint and Morgan, between them have won numerous Academy Awards on their previous collaborations. Morgan Freeman won best Supporting Actor for Million Dollar Baby playing Clint's sidekick, and played Clint's sidekick in Unforgiven.

Morgan Freeman impresses as Mandela, who he knows personally, and does an outstanding job. As much if not more is conveyed through a nod, a gesture and a facial expression than through words. Matt Damon impresses as the Rugby Captain. Having played rugby myself, he totally convinces in his body language and movement as a rugby player.

Clint Eastwood does an impressive job outside his normal territory and familiar genre, making the rugby scenes very true to life. Usually the cameras are off field, here they are up close and personal in the thick of the action.

My one critique of the movie is that it lacks something Hollywood likes, namely the conflict, drama, and the hubris of the characters.

In Changeling for example, Christine Collins has to overcome great adversity, and transform from a mom mourning her missing child to an activist, even being committed to a psychiatric hospital because she disagreed with the police captain.

In Invictus, the great Nelson Mandela adversity has already happened before the events of this movie happen, so the great dramas of his life remain unexplored, and the drama of his wife Winnie being charged with murder also remains unexplored. A quality movie made about all that, would surely win many awards.

Invictus remains a great movie, it's funny sometimes, it's gripping, it's inpiring, it's even exciting. Although it's Morgan Freeman's movie, it's Eastwood's humor that's pervasive. It's a slice of Mandela, but not the whole cake.

Trivia. Watch out for the other Eastwoods, Kyle scores the music. Scott, scores the winning points, and plays No. 10 for the Springboks. Invictus means, unconquerable, invincible. I hope this was helpful to you.
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on July 25, 2010
i won't go into too much detail about this film,because i think any potential viewer should go into into it with no preconceived notions.but,i can say it is one very powerful movie with terrific acting and directing.on he acting front you have the great Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela.and directing the proceedings is master of the craft Clint can't ask for a better combination than that.Matt Damon also stars,and is very good,but it's Freeman's show.obviously there a political angle to the story.but there's more than that.there's a liberal does of Rugby as's basically a drama/sports/biography(with some dramatic license)and political all adds up to one engrossing,compelling experience.for me,Invictus is a 4/5
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I have very little time for politicians, I'm not a fan of rugby, and I know very little about South Africa. However, I do think that Clint Eastwood makes a lot of important films, and I enjoy the acting of Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. That's why I decided to watch Invictus when it was released on Blu-ray four years ago.

Mandela was occasionally in the news during my childhood, but events happening on another continent meant very little to me as a young boy. As an adult, I have come to appreciate people who sacrificed much of their lives in an attempt to change the way people think. If you connected with Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, try to imagine a similar scenario in the modern world.

Mandela campaigned against apartheid, and was imprisoned for his actions in 1963. He spent 18 of his 27 years in prison on Robben Island, where he contracted tuberculosis. As I write this review, he's in hospital with pneumonia at the age of 94.

Invictus shows some of the challenges faced by Mandela when he became South Africa's first black president in 1994. He defied expectations at every turn. An early scene gives us a clue about the man as he calls together his staff. Some of them are white, and expecting to be fired, but Mandela urges them to stay and continue to serve their country. He wants to forgive those who imprisoned him, and those who hate black South Africans. He realized that he was in a position to lead by example, and that it wasn't the time to settle old scores. Freeman's portrayal provides insight into Mandela's character, and shows us why he was loved by the people with whom he interacted.

Racism is one of the most dangerous things in existence, and I believe that it will always be with us in some form. There is no logic in hating someone because of their color or origin, but we are still surrounded by people who do just that. I think it's incredibly ignorant to continue to hold such beliefs in modern society, but I won't turn this review into a debate about racism. I mention it because it's important to frame the story, and appreciate what Mandela was trying to do.

So why is rugby an integral part of the story?

When Mandela took office, South Africa had already been chosen to host the rugby world cup a year later. Mandela decided to use the occasion to help to unite South Africans in a common cause. Rugby had always been a game revered by white South Africans, while black South Africans preferred soccer. In fact, the black population frequently cheered for whichever team was playing their national team as a form of protest. Overcoming that level of hatred proved to be quite a challenge.

Matt Damon plays South African Springbok captain, Francois Pienaar. He leads a team that is suffering from lack of belief in its own ability. There's a definite parallel between Mandela's efforts to unite the country, and Pienaar's task of uniting his team, the fans, and the media. Mandela meets him to discuss the importance of performing well in the world cup, and the two talk about leadership techniques.

Invictus is an engaging story which appeals as a historical drama more than a movie about sports. You don't need to know anything about rugby in order to appreciate the story. Eastwood has constructed a film that deals with the weighty subject matter in a way that we can all understand. Freeman was deservedly nominated for his performance, and Damon is convincing as a rugby player.

Films like this may be considered too idealistic by many, but it works for me. I realize that uniting a country is more difficult than the events portrayed on the screen over the course of two hours. What Invictus does is encourage me to think beyond my immediate surroundings, and appreciate some of the things faced by people living in other countries. It's not the best film ever made about politics or sports, but it's definitely worth your time if you want to broaden your horizons.
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on December 15, 2012
When we watch a film like this for those who dont know of nelson mandela we try to get a sense of him..for really he is really the only person of interest in this one else either white or black strikes are fancy at all of any interest, not his family, or those family who broke from him when he was in prison, and the prison experience is a prison like no other. The prison experience is an experience like no other and this person develops a prophet like experience, and many of the large group in his organization, dont particularly like him or his approach to government, but he is largely too influential and well known, and they know once he leaves office they will have their chance to govern. This is part of the ANC and certainly like much of the lowerclass of africa were ideologues which he is not, and there's a difference in their views. Though the film doesnt much delve into this, but the white population does have much control of the society, which the details in terms of money and what it can accomplish, but there's also another point to this reaching out? We know of him, his life, his attitude, his poetry and religion,
due to the powerful whites in other countries, otherwise the ANC may still not be in power today, and thats why they dont say much to him? Its the white population in other countries and the influence, which cause change and the film largely explores through the idea of a rugby match what the future of that country will be post apartheid? As his
character states in the film his idea is to give both whites and blacks, the film has only one 30 second interlude with one of his children and its not that positive, and his exwife I dontthink is to be seen, but the film wanted to talk of the future of the country which he emphasizes, and his idea is the need to reconcile the different groups as the only way to make the nation succeed, as to make any nation succeed? Most of the relations is outreach to some white persons on the team, to some black women(though not his original family)..and really to play prophet the way the white community should change...and also the black community and the ANC(although the film shys away from this due to time constraints). He is part of the ANC and may have been jailed for communist type sympathies...he's more of a realist, and has taken a more modern approach to solve the problems, although after he left the scene we dont know what happens. Although we can take a look at Zimbabwe..and that may be why a different approach was taken..but thats really the ideas he has in the film, regardless as the past, and i guess he knows who treated him well his prison experience is how to understand him, and who he knows the whites are outside the country who drum up his support, just who are they, and that gives him impetus for the type of country he wants to establish...a person who wants to make a better country by making better people...for a movie to explore his life in great detail would take several films or a miniseries like Roots...but he seems to be more disposed towards women and their problems as to how to resolve much of what is wrong...but the weakness of the film is the lack of interest in anyone but himself..he seems to live for the most part by himself..but given his nature that doesnt bother him..and its curious how the country developed after he left the scene
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on January 15, 2011
Invictus is an inspirational film about one of the truly great leaders of our time, Nelson Mandela. A man who could have easily allowed hatred to dominate his leadership, he nevertheless realized that what his country needed was forgiveness and reconciliation, not payback and revenge. This film attempts to display this through sport, in this case the World Cup of Rugby, which South Africa hosted in 1995.

Clint Eastwood has become one of the greatest directors in Hollywood history, and Invictus simply adds to his impressive legacy. He is very adept at merging a political history and sports story into an entertaining movie. Morgan Freeman is terrific in the role of Mandela, his personal charisma a great asset in playing the very charismatic Nelson Mandela. Matt Damon does a fine job playing the Springboks captain who Mandela approaches to lend support to the South African national rugby team for the World Cup. What is remarkable about this gesture is that the Springboks only have one black player on the team, but Mandela realizes how important the team is to the white community of South Africa and how his gesture would be an act of goodwill and reconciliation. It is a shrewd political gesture for the good of South Africa, though many of Mandela's black colleagues have difficulty in seeing its merit, which in turn allows us to marvel at Mandela's great leadership skills in getting them to at least trust his judgment and vision.

An entertaining and inspirational film that one only wishes more world leaders would take notice of.
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on July 13, 2015
This is a wonderful film. Clint Eastwood's direction is superb, and the portrayal of Nelson Mandela by Morgan Freeman was captivating. Matt Damon's performance is likewise superb. An excellent supporting cast lifts this film well above the ordinary, and Eastwood guides them all with the lightest touch, letting the excellence of cast and script speak for itself. The story in itself is onr of triumph over odds, but Eastwood uses every actor, and every part of the events, large and small, to produce a heroic masterpiece. This is a film I will watch again, and likewise it is a film that captures this moment in history for future generations. It is an outstanding cinematic achievement.
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on January 14, 2011
This is an excellent movie. Nelson Mandela stands out as this centuries most influential political humanitarian figure. Morgan did a great job in acting out a difficult role. Matt Daemon also did an admiral job as the team Captian. I think this movie should be watched in school for kids taking Social Studies. I specifically like the emphasis on forgiveness from the top to the botton. Well done! I give this movie a strong 4.5 for honoring good moral content without the Hollywood hype.
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on January 22, 2014
Thankyou again .. This too was a movie that I have been looking for for a long time. The stores in town probably have them if you have the time or desire to dig through bins of movies hoping to find the one you want. I wouldn't be bothered with that. Much easier to send a request to you and have it show up at my door..
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on December 19, 2013
Hailing from SA and having attended most of the matches depicted, the movie is a surprisingly accurate representation of a snapshot of time. Damon does well with his portrayal of Francois, and Morgan Freeman really nails the essence of the late Nelson Mandela. I wanted to hate it - but the opposite is true.
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on May 2, 2014
Invictus is a solid movie about Rugby, and acceptance to change. Covering the story of Nelson Mandela's release and electioral win. Then to bring a nation together in one of the biggest sporting events!
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