Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Is there any film maker today, who has put out more consistently quality films with strong values, films that look at life issues, than Clint Eastwood?  Whenever I see something he has had a part in putting together, I am always appreciative of his body of work. (well actually I have never seen the Dirty Harry series as I am not often into violence as entertainment). Overall he has chosen, especially in his elder years, to make enjoyable movies that are also teaching moments. I could go down the list of how many but this is about one of them.

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.


Darlene said...

I watched Invictus last week and rate it as one of the outstanding films this year. The acting, cinematography and story line are all A+.

mandt said...

Clint Eastwood is brilliant at times. I truly admired the recent films he did on WWII, especially, "Letters From Iwo Jima."

Rain said...

In movies in which he starred, one of my favorite recent ones was Absolute Power. Well it's not too recent as in 1997 or somewhere around that. It was so pertinent to our times and how power can corrupt. His character was complex and very satisfying for the plot and how it all worked out. I liked Gran Torino but would not buy that one even though it was satisfying. Absolute Power I would enjoy seeing once in awhile. We got Space Cowboys not long ago at the bargain bin somewhere and that was fun. I also like Bridges of Madison County as the way love is and how it doesn't always work, but it was fair to the story. I liked the photography and he always puts a lot into the music for any film he does. I like him better in his older years than I did in his younger although I remember well when he played Rowdy in Rawhide :)

Paul said...

I want to see Invictus as I have great respect for Nelson Mandela. I also recommend another film starring Matt Damon to you Rai-it's called "The Rainmaker"...Check it out...:-)

Annotated Margins said...

Yeah... I really enjoyed Invictus. Whudda thunk the future of South Africa hinged on rugby. Mandela knew how the world worked.

20th Century Woman said...

You have convinced me that I should see this movie.

Bumps Stump said...

Rain . . You probably read "Cry My Beloved County" a long time ago - but if not - I think you would enjoy it now. Bump

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I did see Invictus many months ago and I agree with you---and I also agree about Clint Eastwood, too...All of his films in the last 10 or 15 years--maybe more--I am bad on time now---Have a basis in some really important values, and they are incredibly entertaining at the same time. Not always an easy thing to do. He knows how to make movies on all levels---Acting, Directing and Producing. I thought the two films that encomposed the War in the Pacific from the American point of view and then, from The Japanese viewpoit were really important---Especially the one from the Japanese point of view. And "Gran Torino" is a very important picture with a deep and important message....! There are many others, too. I admire him so much for having a vision and seeing it through and giving the public GOOD GOOD Films.