Invictus

invictus

Starring Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon | Directed by Clint Eastwood | Warner Bros. Pictures | Rated PG-13

Before being invited to attend a media screening of Invictus last week, I didn't think I would see this new picture from Clint Eastwood. I've liked many of Eastwood's movies over the years, but this one wasn't calling to me for three reasons.

First, I simply didn't like the name. Boring. Who titles movies in Latin anymore and why? Second, I don't follow rugby, a sport that becomes central to the film as it unfolds. Third, I prefer Eastwood not as director but as actor—in front of the camera dispensing justice as Harry Callahan (Dirty Harry), William Munny (Unforgiven) or the unnamed grim reapers of High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider.

Watching Invictus, however, quickly conquered my petty biases.

First, the title: I was foolish to imagine, however tentatively, that the eight-letter Latin name wasn't packed with significant meaning. It is borrowed from the title of an 1875 work by British poet William Ernest Henley and is deeply important to the film's main character, former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa (played by Morgan Freeman).

Second, rugby is one element of the film, a critical one, but arguably isn't the movie's primary focus. Besides, Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, captain of the South African Springboks national team, bolsters these portions of the movie.

Third, though Eastwood isn't in front of the camera righting wrongs, he has created a film with a heavy sense of justice.

Depicting historical events in South Africa in the early to mid-1990s, Invictus opens to convicted opposition leader Mandela being released from prison on Feb. 11, 1990, after serving a 27-year sentence. Jailed originally while leading the African National Congress, a group that at one time violently opposed white-only rule in South Africa, Mandela is rapturously welcomed by blacks in South Africa and later triumphantly tours Western Europe and North America making political speeches.

After a referendum banning apartheid is passed in March 1992, the country's first-ever multiracial elections are held in April 1994, and an overwhelming majority choose 75-year-old Mandela to lead the transitional, coalition government.

Invictus follows Mandela through the end of apartheid and into his first term as president, during a time when he opposed some of his black constituents in order to unite the country by supporting the mostly white national rugby team. Taking a personal, public interest in the Springboks, he campaigned internationally for South Africa to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

By bringing Mandela to life—as the country's first black head of state who is also weighted with unifying a population raised on apartheid—Eastwood captures the heart of an older, wiser Mandela with a new vision for his country's future. Whereas Mandela had tolerated violent change as a young man, he is dedicated to nonviolent change in his old age.

Freeman delivers a moving portrayal of Mandela as he chooses to carefully and deliberately to lay his political foundation with a spirit of forgiveness and to unify South Africa with acts of reconciliation. The film is at its strongest when it is showing  the process Mandela went through to achieve unity. However, a portion that is dedicated to his imprisonment on Robben Island near Cape Town comes off feeling more like a tribute than historical background.

It was Mandela's dream to create a "rainbow nation" where all colors would be as one. Whether or not that is the South Africa of today isn't this film's issue. Invictus instead takes a slice from South Africa's history and tells a story about when that dream was realized.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • Foot washing

    Shaking the Gates of Hell With a Basin of Water and a Towel

    "When I saw His foot, I knew He had come to take back territory the enemy had stolen from His ...

  • Growing relationship

    2017 Prophetic Word: The Supernatural Key to Growing Your Relationship With God

    It's vital that we understand what comes from God and what comes from the devil.

  • Marriage man and woman

    Why Marriage Is Not Just Between a Man and a Woman

    Marriage is a miracle. Let us treat it like one.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit