Invictus

200px-HumanFactorInvictus Last night I went with friends from work to see Invictus (PG-13,2009).  From ScreenIt!:

The newly elected President of South Africa hopes to begin reconciliation among his black and white constituents by urging them to unite behind the nation's rugby team in the World Cup.

Over coffee afterwards, one of my friends talked about what it was like experiencing these events first-hand as an Afrikaner in South Africa.  She said the film brought back so many memories.  First of all, she was impressed with Freeman’s and Damon’s accents…saying they were spot-on.  Also, she indicated that the filmmakers did an excellent job of capturing the spirit of what the South Africans felt and experienced during that time.  Her family had gathered to celebrate her 21st birthday and watched the match together on a big screen.  Although they didn’t realize it at the time, she said that when Mandela walked onto the field wearing the #6 jersey of the Springboks (South African national rugby team, a deep-rooted symbol of Apartheid) it was a major turning point for their country and its racial reconciliation.  The celebrations in the streets afterwards were the first time they had done so without fear of violence and riots.  She said her parents have made big changes in their outlook since then.  On the other hand, her brother has not (still doesn’t want to use the same facilities as blacks, send his kids to school with blacks, etc.).  She said that the black middle class is growing and that it’s not unusual to see blacks buying homes in previously-white-only neighborhoods.  Unfortunately, the shanty towns are still prevalent.  Despite the fact that the country’s old flag (another symbol of Apartheid) was not banned, you never see it flown at sporting events any more.  She said the rugby was very realistic too, and she wanted to jump up and cheer during the film.  She wondered if the rest of us (who didn’t share that same personal connection with the story) would find it boring.  We didn’t.

I’m a sucker for sports movies and a sucker for movies about racial reconciliation, so I didn’t stand a chance.

I give it 5 out of 5.