Like/Don't Like: Liked
So this is the year for Rugby movies. And I still don't understand the purpose of the scrum.
But no worries because this isn't a movie about rugby. I know that the ads make you think that it is but it's not. It's a movie about Nelson Mandela trying to get South Africa to come together after the end of apartheid. The Rugby World Cup was a means of doing that. The South African team was revered by the whites and hated by the blacks and everyone assumed that when Mandela came into power he would at the very least change their name and colors to reflect the new democracy. Instead he made it a priority during his first year in office to get the whole country, blacks and whites, to rally behind them rather than rally against each other. The rugby matches come near the end and by that point you're so caught up in the story that you don't really care that you have no idea how the game is played.
I think the biggest compliment I can give this movie is that it had tremendous restraint. Movies that deal with these sorts of themes (underdog sports teams, racism, great leaders) tend to be played with a heavy hand. You know, lots of tears and heart wrenching moments with violins in the background. But there wasn't too much of that in this film. In times when it could have justifiably gone over the top it pulled back and let the story speak for itself. And I can't tell you how much I appreciated that. I'm a HUGE crier (Here I will confess, once again, that I cried during Encino Man, which should illustrate just how low my crying point is.) and considering the last Clint Eastwood film I saw (Million Dollar Baby, where I cried even more then I did during Steel Magnolias. You didn't think that was possible, right?) I was afraid that I would shrivel up like a prune from extreme dehydration. But I didn't cry once. Nor did I feel cheated out of any emotions. It was just right.