I get a little antsy when i see "Now a Major Motion Picture" on a book cover. or "Based on the Book..." on a movie poster. sometimes things get lost in translation between book and movie. I get it, different medium, time constraint, blah blah blah. There have been some outstanding adaptations. Peter Jackson did a wonderful job with Tolkien (despite having to skip over a few bits of the book). As a movie, Under the Tuscan Sun had a plot which the memoir lacked. And Ridley Scott and company did a fantastic job with Black Hawk Down.
But i'm taking issue with Clint the man Eastwood's Invictus. If you get the chance, read the book by John Carlin. Short read, packed with information and insight. Understanding the movie was centered around the game and not the historic lead-up, i was surprised to find a few big parts of the movie lacking.
First, when the players are told they have to learn the second national anthem, "Nkosi Sikelele" the guys, according to Carlin, take to it. The players recognized the political importance of learning the anthem representing the black South Africans. Not only that, they've been receiving support from black South Africans and saw this as an opportunity to give back. It's an emotional moment in the book when the team learns and practices the song. In the movie, it warrants hardly a minute and the players are against the idea of singing it. C'mon now.
Secondly, the fly-over before the championship game, yeah, it was planned.
Thirdly, the Nel-son chant didn't get enough love. Carlin spent some time in the book with how it effected everyone from the bodyguard to Pienaar, the Boks captain. the way carlin described it was the country's biggest unifying act. and it just got glazed over. what the hell?!
the movie was great though, as usual, eastwood's fantastic. morgan freeman was perfect as mandela. and matt damon's always fun to watch. the scene where the Boks visit Mandela's prison cell was so well done. the rugby action was cool, especially if you're like me and not overly knowledgeable about the game. it really was a very good movie. entertaining with powerhouse performances amid a historic backdrop. not as faithful to the book as i'd like, but still worth the ticket price. be aware though, its not the full story.