As a South African who saw this film on Friday morning, I can tell you you the entertaining, inspiring and enjoyable "Invictus" exceeded all my expectations.
It really is a true story of epic proportions yet it's told with an intimate feel, and it is at least 98% accurate to the events of the time. Clint gets all the big details and so many of the little details right, but he never goes over the top. He directs with minimum fuss and achieves maximum effect, just letting the powerful story unfold without getting in its way.
I watched the 1995 Rugby World Cup and saw Madiba come out in the Springbok jersey. It was a wondrous sight. And when Joel Stransky slotted that drop kick over in the dying minutes and the Boks won, I wept and cheered along with everyone else. After the match millions of South African - of all races - celebrated. It was an amazing time. It was the birth of the "Rainbow Nation". Nelson Mandela is the greatest and most beloved of all South Africans. The man is a living legend, but so human and real. When he was President he brought hope to all South Africans, white and black. We, in my country, will never stop loving this incredible man. Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman did South Africa and our beloved Madiba proud. Francois Pienaar is also an amazing South African, an intelligent, big-hearted rugby played who always led by example, and Matt Damon's performance as him was superb. I was glued to the screen for every second of the film's running time (I didn't even move from my seat until the final credit rolled and the house lights came on), and I was moved to tears on several occasions. The final scene was especially touching.
Freeman's performance was magical and I can see him getting as Oscar nomination. If you think his Mandela is too cool to be true, think again. Mandela really is this cool. A brave and intelligent man whose courage and strength of character should serve as an example to people all over the world. After being unjustly imprisoned for nearly 30 years by a cruel and repressive regime, he emerged to run a country and teach its people the meaning of forgiveness and reconciliation.
I thoroughly recommend the authentically detailed, historically accurate "Invictus" to film lovers, Eastwood fans, Nelson Mandela fans and sports fans everywhere in the world. South Africans would be crazy to miss this excellent film, but it deserves to be a hit all over the globe. Let's hope it is.
Viva Clint Eastwood, viva Morgan Freeman, viva Madiba.
PS. I'm a huge fan of Clint Eastwood as both an actor and a director.
Of the films Eastwood has directed, my favorites, in no particular order, are "Unforgiven", "Million Dollar Baby", "Gran Torino", "The Outlaw Josey Wales", "Letters From Iwo Jima", "The Bridges of Madison County","Bird" and "Invictus". Yes, it's really that good. "Invictus" is another winner from Clint. He just seems to get better with age. What a creative roll he is currently on.
PPS. "Invictus" is one of the best sporting movies I have ever seen. But it's also about more than sport.