Reverent account of how newly elected South African president Nelson Mandela used the nation’s rugby team to unite a divided country. The aftermath following the dismantling of apartheid is a fascinating subject, one which could provide material for several epics. Indeed, the movie is a handsomely mounted, beautifully shot, nicely acted effort that begs to be respected. It’s just that this sports drama is such a conspicuous plea for Oscar acceptance, it‘s more predictable formula than emotional storytelling. Focusing on the country’s involvement in the 1995 Rugby World Cup as a way to deal with larger political issues, is an interesting choice. Unfortunately the resulting matches aren’t especially exciting and only superficially address what was happening out in the streets. Furthermore, Nelson Mandela is so saintly, so utterly beatific in his bid to reconcile white and black South Africans, his character doesn’t seem human. To critique a story with such noble aspirations, feels almost iniquitous. Its heart is in the right place. Regrettably, the resulting film is one that is easy to respect, but hard to love.


8 Responses to “Invictus”

  1. peter yarrow Says:

    Take your place on the great Mandela.


  2. I gave this 4 stars. I really enjoyed it. The scene where Matt Damon’s character is standing in the cell, really got me. Rugby is not well known here (U.S), so I didn’t really know about any of this, prior to watching the movie.


  3. Aww, I love this movie! I usually think Clint Eastwood is overrated, but this was one of my favorites of ’09.


    • Really? I thought it was so boring.


    • It had its moments, but I’m with Fernando on this one.


      • That’s okay; you gave my other two favorites of ’09 only three stars (Moon and Avatar). 😉 Maybe if I revisited this one I would think otherwise. It might’ve just been the performance of Morgan Freeman that I loved; I hardly remember any of it. Yeah, I think Morgan Freeman might’ve done it, because I love him. Because I’m not much of a sports fan anyway, and this was…a sports movie.


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