“I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul. I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” – quote from the movie Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman as South African President Nelson Mandela, based on the poem of the same title by William Ernest Henley.
Warner Bros. Pictures presents yet another inspirational flick that will end up in my repertoire of teaching materials with the movie Invictus starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.
Invictus is a tale of true leadership as displayed by South African President Nelson Mandela, who, after being locked up in prison for thirty years, strove to unite his bitterly divided nation through a language they all understood: rugby. Believing that the universality of the love of sports would be enough to bring together a country torn by racism and class-wars for years, he sought the help of Francois Pineaar and the Springboks rugby team in becoming elements of change for the good of their nation through their quest for the 1995 World Cup.
I have always known about Nelson Mandela, but I have to admit, all I did know about him was that he was the president of South Africa and a former prisoner. All I really knew about him was what I had seen in Oprah, given that she is such a big fan of his. However, after the film, I got a clearer picture of the man he was and his remarkable leadership. He led not for himself, but for the good of his nation. Despite all the challenges that beset him, he fought to do what was right and not what was popular. Moreso, he did this in spite and despite everything and everyone around him.
I was deathly sick during the press screening of the film and I came within a hairs-breath of not showing up. However, I am really glad I didn’t! I enjoyed the film immensely despite not feeling well and fearing I would fall asleep during the screening. The only thing that kind of threw me off with the film is the accent Morgan Freeman had to take on for the role. It’s not that he didn’t do a good job, it was just very different from the Morgan Freeman I have always loved.
Invictus is directed by Clint Eastwood and is based on the book by John Carlin entitled Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Changed a Nation. Stars Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role respectively.
Invictus opens February 17 in a local cinema near you. Should you go see it? YES! Definitely a must-see for 2010. On a personal note, I hope we find a leader who is able to inspire the way he did this 2010 elections!