Football Seems A Little Wimpy After Watching Rugby

The movie Invictus contains the message that something seemingly trivial, like a game, can unite individuals and an entire country.  It is a typical sports movie, yet it is also a good movie.

The title Invictus comes from a poem of the same title, written by the English poet William Ernest Henley.  It reads: "Out of the night that covers me,/ Black as the pit from pole to pole,/ I thank whatever gods may be/ For my unconquerable soul.// In the fell clutch of circumstance/ I have not winced nor cried aloud./ Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.// Beyond this place of wrath and tears/ Looms but the Horror of the shade,/ And yet the menace of the years/ Finds and shall find me unafraid.//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." The last two lines are mostly what are used in the movie.

Both Morgan Freeman, as South African President Nelson Mandela, and Matt Damon, as Springbok captain Francois Pienaar, are what make the movie.  Well, the rugby helps.  The interesting thing, to me, is that President Mandela did not let the Springbok team be demolished and renamed, as many were expecting, even though they were seen as a symbol of apartheid.  Instead, Mandela stood behind them and, in effect, inspired them to win to unite their country.

I found Invictus to be entertaining and inspiring without going overboard into sappiness.  It’s a good movie, and one that I’d recommend.