31.03.2020 in Critical

For the last decade, Clint Eastwood has been shooting solely highly social movies, in which universal and extremely topical issues are enlightened through personal tragedy or drama of its characters. These films are usually about the struggle of the spirit and the need for a change in defiance of circumstances. Invictus is not an exception. It is highly important to study the film Invictus since the plot of the movie tells the viewers about the hard fraction of humanity in terms of long-term policy of racial segregation.

Nelson Mandela, the first black President in the history of South Africa, begins his fight for the equal rights of all people in the period of the existence of apartheid. It is obvious that for such an uneasy purpose, decrees on paper are not enough. It is necessary to make changes in the minds of free citizens. When a black President, who has suffered all injustice of apartheid, comes to power, he realizes that his country, where the vast majority of people are black, with several whites that hold finance and the entire state infrastructure, is necessary to overcome hostility to each other entrenched in the hearts of people. The President gambles on sport. Nelson Mandela attempts to destroy the longstanding misunderstanding between the white and black population of the country, uniting them all around the national rugby team. While the country’s population is a fan of one team, going through all victories and defeats, people gradually begin to forget the years of racial discrimination. However, this film is not only about sport. As Bruhn, Gjelsvik, and Hanssen note, “Clint Eastwood’s Invictus tells an inspiring story”. Thus, this deep film depicts an individual’s the ability to forgive.


Nelson Mandela, played by Morgan Freeman, is endowed with the qualities that are inherent in a real leader. He is a wise, kind, and humane leader of the nation. He has certain features that help him become a good leader. First, Mandela is open-minded. For example, he is fond of tea even though it is not an African tradition. A scene with tea also shows that the President is humble as he pours tea himself without waiting for a server. In addition, Nelson Mandela is polite. It is associated with the fact that he has a highly respectful attitude to all people around him. Nelson Mandela is also a visionary, as he wants to apply his leadership skills to unite South Africa and make it a prosperous state. A good leader in the role of Nelson Mandela is able to have an impact on circumstances, imperceptibly changing them. This film teaches that the behavior of the leader is highly significant to lead a team with success. There are two well-known types of leader’s behavior. They are people-oriented and task-oriented. It should be noted that Nelson Mandela applies both types of leadership in his desire to reconcile people and build a successful nation. However, Mandela will not be able to achieve this goal without the ally who also possesses leadership qualities. Both Mandela and Pienaar have applied a good strategy of teambuilding. Nelson Mandela does not just want to achieve his goal to unite the nation. He also wants to understand and feel the story of every player of the team. Thus, he is sensitive and caring for each team member. According to Mandela, it is one of the most important features of a good leader – to care about every member. To believe in the team is an essential management skill. Mandela’s trust in the team in general and in every member in particular inspires all people. 

Nelson Mandela confirms all actions by his example. Thus, he acts as a change agent. He leads the nation, showing by his example that it is significant to respect and believe in every person regardless of the color of their skin or religious beliefs. The film also shows that it is extremely important to set audacious goals, as it is one of the major features of management skill. Thus, Nelson Mandela sets such a goal to the captain – to win in the tournament. In such a way, Mandela considers that victory in the tournament will reconcile the nation. The story of Mandela and his faith in the rugby team is only a small, albeit important part of the struggle for a better world with no discrimination, as this man has led this fight throughout his life.

Despite the fact that Nelson Mandela is the main character in the movie, Francois has also played a great role. His leadership traits help Mandela achieve his goal. One of the most important Francois’ traits is being respectful, a feature that unites him with Mandela. Francois understands that his role of the team leader is less important than the role of the President. Francois is also a good listener as he listens to Mandela’s advice and follows it. It is a good trait of the leader. as a person should always listen to an alternative opinion. Another important feature consists in the fact that he is also team-oriented. All these leadership traits help Mandela and Francois win the tournament and unite the nation. 

Nelson Mandela and Francois demonstrate good leadership qualities that can be successfully applied in life. In general, Invictus shows that a team’s performance can greatly affect the larger institution. Sport teams or clubs can have the similar effect on the student life as the principal can also unite the school due to sporting events since sport is one of the main things that bring people together. In such a way, this movie can serve as a great example of the usage of leadership traits to unite a larger institution. 

It is important to note that the poem Invictus occupies a particular place in the movie. In one of the episodes, Nelson Mandela shares a poem, which helped him survive in prison for 27 years, with the captain of the South African team. In Latin, invictus means “unconquered”. The poem was written by the English poet of the 19th century William Henley. These life-affirming lines came from Henley’s pen in the hospital after the amputation of his leg. This poem is not a description of a particular character of the movie, butt becomes increasingly important as the story progresses. Thus, Cameron and Spreitzer are of the opinion that “the film Invictus borrows its title from Henley’s poem to portray the first days of Nelson Mandela’s presidency and the challenges of radical change at the end of apartheid in South Africa”. The poem has made a significant impact on Nelson Mandela both in prison and during his time as the President. The lines of the poem are impregnated with courage and struggle. The President knows that despite the fact that South Africa is torn apart the country will be united. 

The director of the film Invictus is Clint Eastwood, which is already a guarantee of success. Invictus is an honest, frank, adult, and balanced film. It is easily treated with weighty and powerful ideas that have dominated in society of South Africa at that time. The film tells the viewers about the first months of the presidency Nelson Mandela, the South African resistance leader. It is not an easy task for Nelson Mandela to reconcile the black and white population of South Africa without losing the sympathy of the first and earning the respect of the latter. However, the President successfully coped with this task owing to his pronounced leadership qualities. This film is good and interesting, but it is also very instructive since viewers can learn about leadership traits from Nelson Mandela.

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