Forgiveness Transcends Politics
Release Date: December 11, 2009
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 134 minutes
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures/Time Warner
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Anthony Peckham
Address Comments To:Jeffrey L. Bewkes, CEO, Time Warner
Barry M. Meyer, Chairman/CEO
Alan Horn, President/COO
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (New Line Cinema)
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000
The movie stars Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. The story begins with Mandela taking the reins of power in South Africa after a hard fought election. To the consternation of his black bodyguards, he asks the white security forces to help them to protect him from any assassination attempts. He also upsets his personal advisor, a black woman, by convincing his supporters not to disband the national rugby team, which had become a hated symbol of apartheid (forced racial segregation) to Mandela’s party and most other blacks. Mandela tells his black supporters they must forgive the white South Africans for their support of apartheid and not seek revenge.
At the same time, Mandela reaches out to the rugby team’s white captain, Francois Pienaar, played by Matt Damon. Mandela inspires Francois to lead his team to some victories in the 1995 World Cup. One of the team’s best players, and only black star, suffers from a hamstring injury, however.
Will Mandela’s efforts to unite blacks and whites, and ease racial tensions, succeed? Will the black player’s injury heal in time? Will the team beat their long-time rivals from New Zealand in the finals?
Forgiveness and reconciliation are the main theme of INVICTUS. It is also the main thing that President Mandela teaches his supporters and the white rugby players in the movie. Thus, the movie depicts Mandela as trying to heal the division between whites and blacks during this brief period in South Africa’s history.
Here, it is interesting to note that the movie shows Mandela convincing his black supporters not to take revenge on the whites by changing the colors of the rugby team, or by disbanding it. In doing so, Mandela encourages his supporters to work with the whites and respect their values and concerns.
With its moral, Christian message of forgiveness and reconciliation, INVICTUS is inspiring, spiritually uplifting, heartfelt, and impressive. As director, Clint Eastwood does another superb job. He extracts excellent performances from Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. The sport scenes with the large crowds are also captivating and spectacular.
The movie’s moral, Christian worldview includes a prayer of thanks to God at a crucial moment. The movie’s title refers, however, to the famous humanist poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. Written in a hospital, Henly’s poem extols human will, saying at the end, “I am the captain of my soul” after giving thanks to “whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul.” Invictus is Latin for “unconquered.” Mandela tells Francois that the poem inspired him not to give up when he was imprisoned for about 30 years. And, that’s exactly what inspires Francois to lead the rugby team to victory. There’s also some foul language in the movie and an implied but not shown sexual scene where Francois’ fiancé visits him in his hotel and the couple disappears from view while kissing, so caution for pre-teenagers or older children is recommended.
Forgiveness and reconciliation are the main theme of INVICTUS. With its moral, Christian message of forgiveness, INVICTUS is inspiring, spiritually uplifting, heartfelt, and impressive. As director, Clint Eastwood does another superb job. He extracts excellent performances from Freeman and Damon. The movie contains a prayer to God at a crucial moment and positive Christian references, but it also has references to a humanist poem that extols human will. There are also some obscenities, so caution for older children is advised.