I had expected Invictus to be good. I knew it was about Nelson Mandela, his difficult transition from prisoner to president of his country at a time where South Africa was going through the kind of transition many nations must but where the outcome is uncertain. It is also about the sport of rugby (of which I knew almost nothing more than the name) and those who play it. Is about racism which can be on both sides of a racial divide.
Since our country is going through something very similar-- but I don't think so much about race as values-- this film seemed especially apropos for the times. It's enjoyable, great characters. Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon as always delivered outstanding performances. Eastwood kept the story moving along, never losing sight of the message and never forcing it.
It made me wonder though is there something today that our country could come together around? Something that would cut through the anger and hate and let us see that we are all people who want the same basic things in life.
Oh I know, we can get sidetracked into thinking we don't want the same things but don't we all want to be respected, to find love? Don't we want to have a purpose that seems to matter? Is there anyone who doesn't desire security and good health? Everything beyond those basics is frills and frosting, nice but not at the heart of what we need as humans. Sometimes we lose track of those basics but a film like Invictus reminds us.
The inspiration for Mandela's life and what he gave to the Rugby team to inspire them came from a poem by William Ernest Henley. The last lines say a lot for all of us.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
I really recommend this film if you have not yet seen it. I got it from Netflix.