My thoughts before I started this movie was ooh rugby, interesting.
My thoughts quickly changed to a history lesson about South Africa and Nelson Mandela. The best way to sum up the conflict is in sports terms: the african american south africans would cheer for any team besides the Springboks, the South African National Team. I don’t remember the exact quote but one of the african americans said the Springboks represent everything that destroyed them and their country.
The movie starts off with Mandela just becoming president and the fear that the country would fall apart. The rest of the movie picks up when Mandela tells his staff that the best way to hold his home of 43 million people together and unified is to make the South African rugby team the best it can possible be. Then steps in Matt Damon, the captain of the rugby team, Francois Pienaar who works with Mandela to make the team a winning team.
The best parts of the movie was when the audience saw how rugby was changing the relationships between the two different groups of people. Two of my favorites scenes were Mandela’s security team made up of people from his clan and security guards from the previous president were playing rugby together and figuring out the rules from one another. The other scene that I was a fun of is the rugby team goes on a trip to play with the kids of a south african village. The teammates are at first very reluctant to go, but when they go, their whole attitude changes. They instead start teaching the kids the rules of Rugby and you can see that both the children and the rugby team are enjoying themselves.
At times it was hard to hear what Mandela played by Morgan Freeman said and then I had to make an accurate guess. It didn’t happen alot, but when it did, I kinda wished for some subtitles.
Now I didn’t know much about Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment except for the fact that he was imprisoned, so I particularly liked the shot when Damon visits Mandela’s cell and Eastwood kinda superimposes a faint image of Freeman reciting the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley.
The poem is the title of the movie hence it has importance to the film. For Mandela, it was the poem that kept him sane when he was imprisoned and for Piennar, he receives the poem from Mandela as a source of strength when the world cup starts.
Now there wasn’t much learning of rugby because that would overcomplicated the film. I did learn that a) it’s a very rough sport and b) you can never throw the ball forward, only sideways or backwards.
Also there is something about Eastwood’s films that are different from other films. His lighting or the way his film are shoot look so soft and beautiful with natural lighting or a special lens and are not harsh and defined like most of films seen today.
Oscar nominations: Supporting Actor for Matt Damon, Best Actor for Morgan Freeman
The line that sums up the whole film, the line that shows that Mandela needs the Rugby team is “One Team, One Country”. I think that quote says it all.
1. Best Male Actor: Morgan Freeman
2. Best Support Male Actor: Matt Damon