Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman), in his first term as President of South African, initiates a unique venture to unite the Apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle's (Bradley Cooper's) pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.
Disgruntled Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) sets out to reform his neighbor, Thao Lor (Bee Vang), a Hmong teenager who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possession: a 1972 Gran Torino.
This movie tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joined forces with the Captain of South Africa's rugby team, Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) to help unite their country. Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of Apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa's rugby team as they make their historic run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship match.Written by
Morgan Freeman, who had been a friend of Nelson Mandela for many years, prepared for his role as Mandela by watching some tapes of him to perfect his accent and rhythm of speaking. However, the most difficult part was Mandela's charisma, which could not be duplicated: "I wanted to avoid acting like him; I needed to be him, and that was the biggest challenge. When you meet Mandela, you know you are in the presence of greatness, but it is something that just emanates from him. He moves people for the better. That is his calling in life. Some call it the Madiba magic. I'm not sure that magic can be explained." See more »
As Francois Pienaar speaks to his teammates in a huddle during the World Cup final, empty stadium seats can be seen behind the players in close-up shots, despite it being previously established that the game had completely sold out. See more »
High School Boy:
[seeing passing motorcade]
Who is it, sir?
High School Coach:
It's the terrorist Mandela, they let him out. Remember this day boys, this is the day our country went to the dogs.
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The Warner Bros logo is the 90s era logo, in keeping with the time period of the film. See more »
Morgan Freeman shines in Clint Eastwood's solid drama
Set in the early to mid 90's, Clint Eastwood's "Invictus" covers the first year of Nelson Mandela's presidency and how he pushed the nation's rugby team, led by captain Francois Pienaar, to achieve World Cup glory. However, Mandela's backing of the rugby team splits many hairs, as the "Sprinboks" have come to be a symbol of apartheid for millions of South Africans, making Mandela risk the very base that pushed him into office. He must also deal with personal security, his exhaustive schedule, and the strains on his personal life.
As much as I respect Morgan Freeman, I was concerned that his presence would be distracting, that I would be seeing him instead of Nelson Mandela. I shouldn't have worried. Freeman completely immerses himself into the role and gives one of the best performances of the year. Not only are his accent and tone of voice quite good, but he brings a true 3-dimensionality to the role. Compare, for example, him having tea with Francois, to talking with his family, and to making a political speech. Freeman nailed every facet of Mandela's life.
Damon also excels as Pienaar, the solid enough rugby player who must do more than just lead by example for his team. The screenplay, adapted by Anthony Peckham, doesn't offer many narrative surprises, but it does do a good job examining not only the strife South Africa was in when Mandela was elected, but also the value of the team to the entire nation. Eastwood wisely plays the material straight. Though the material may seem familiar, the performances by Damon and especially Freeman are what elevate this tale into a solid and even uplifting drama.
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