“You are hosting a dinner party for five people including yourself. Who would you invite, dead or alive?”
I’m terrible at that game, horrendous actually. Over time, though, I have found one person who I always pick and just leave the rest of the table empty, Nelson Mandela. Imagine how excited I was when the trailer for Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, came on in a preview for a recent movie I saw.
Invictus is just as much the story of Mandela and his initial struggle to fulfill the promises he made as a new president for a divided country, as the story of a highly physical sport and the underdog spirit. The whole movie is passionate and displays Mandela at his prime, a strong leader who uses incredible insight and a deep understanding of mankind to unite the people of South Africa.
Invictus, to me, is both a stunning representation of South Africa in the 1990s, the film itself is shot with the same coloring schemes that were available at that time making it look like an old story uncovered in movie storage room, and the first time I have ever felt the need to understand the game of rugby.
Though probably not intentional Invictus depicts a man who half the population of his country believed would fail as president, learn the importance of leadership and what unites a country. Its release in a time where our current President is facing slipping approval ratings seems uncanny and it can’t be ignored that while rugby and the Springboks unite South Africa in the movie, Mandela fulfilled his other promises too. Maybe this is an indicator that we need something to unite us all in order to gain the enthusiasm to make a change. Or maybe Invictus is merely an exceptional movie about change and rugby, but either way, Nelson Mandela remains on my dinner list, and I may just add Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon too.
Bio: Alex Smith is an intern at Guernica. Read her last recommendation “here”:https://www.guernicamag.com/blog/1453/rec_room_alex_smith_the_yiddis/.