Feature

Invictus

Clint Eastwood dramatizes the story of how newly-elected President Nelson Mandela spurred on South Africa's rugby team in the World Cup and turned the team's victory into a moment of national solidarity.

Directed by Clint Eastwood
(PG-13)

***

President Nelson Mandela spurs South Africa’s rugby team to the World Cup.

Invictus “is a very good story very well told,” said Todd McCarthy in Variety. In 1994, Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) becomes the first black president of South Africa. Taking a political risk, he embraces the nation’s rugby team—a longtime symbol of the old apartheid regime. With the help of its captain (Matt Damon), Mandela turns a World Cup match into a moment of national solidarity. Working from an inspiring true story, director Clint Eastwood occasionally flirts with sentimentality. But Freeman anchors the film, giving it gravity and grace, said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. Freeman plays Mandela like a “virtuoso playing Bach on a Stradivarius.” He embodies both the man’s “quiet moral authority and his capacity for forgiveness.” Invictus isn’t about Mandela alone, though, said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. Eastwood finds ways to include an expansive view of South African society, telling “a big story through a series of small, well-observed moments.” It all adds up to a thrilling sports saga, “an inspiring tale of prejudice overcome, and, above all, a fascinating study of political leadership.”

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