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Invictus Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Rugby heals all wounds. Read full review


Jen Yamato Profile

Racism sucks. Rugby rules! Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    A temperate, evenhanded perhaps overly timid film about an intemperate time in South Africa.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    A win-win situation in which a mainstream feature works equally well as stirring entertainment and a history lesson about a remarkable convergence of sports and statesmanship.

    Read Full Review

  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    How is Invictus as a sports movie? Let's just say that its lump-in-the-throat climax is predictable, but that doesn't mean it's less than earned.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Invictus, which is Latin for "unconquered," gives the poem several meanings in the context of the film. It also applies to Eastwood, who, as one of America's greatest storytellers, finds enthralling tales and fashions them with finesse and an indomitable spirit.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Invictus reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 12+

Inspiring tale about Mandela, rugby, and national pride.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fact-based Clint Eastwood-directed drama (which stars Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman) is an uplifting movie that's age appropriate for older tweens and young teens -- the PG-13 rating is primarily for language (one use of "f--king" and a couple of "s--t"s are the worst of it). Because of its narrow focus -- the movie follows President Nelson Mandela's decision to rally support behind South Africa's nearly all-white national rugby team -- there's no violence except for the rugby itself (which is quite physically aggressive). And Damon's character kisses his wife, but there's nothing more risque than that. Ultimately the movie is both educational and inspiring, providing an excellent lesson about post-apartheid South Africa, national unity, and the universality of sports.

  • Families can talk about the movie's themes of national unity and desegregation. Why does Mandela decide to save the rugby team? What does the rugby team represent to black South Africans at the beginning of the film, and how does that change throughout the movie?
  • What do Pienaar's rugby teammates mean when they that say the new national anthem is a "terrorist song"? What does the movie teach viewers about the history of South Africa?
  • The poem "Invictus" is referenced and read more than once in the movie. What do you think the poem means, and why does Mandela give it to Pienaar?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: The movie has an uplifting message about how Mandela led South Africans by example by rooting for a nearly all-white rugby team to foster national unity. Mandela's love of the poem "Invictus," which he had up in his prison cell and later gives to the captain of the rugby team, means "unconquered" in Latin and has an inspiring message: "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela is portrayed as a kind, open-hearted leader who wants to help South Africa heal the deep wounds caused by apartheid. Mandela understands how the rugby team, once a bastion of segregated South Africa, could turn into a beacon of new South Africa. Francois Pienaar is willing to work with Mandela, even at a time when many white South Africans were resistant to Mandela's leadership. He encourages his teammates to acknowledge the new South African anthem and to reach out to the black majority.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: Rugby is a pretty violent sport, but otherwise, there's no conventional violence except for when an angry white South African throws a soda cup in the vicinity of President Mandela. In another scene, Mandela is shown collapsed on the floor.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Francois kisses and hugs his wife a couple of times, and the night she visits him before a big match, he says they "can't" but that he needs her for "inspiration," and then they start kissing. A presidential guard flirts with Mandela's secretary.

  • language false3

    Language: The rugby team occasionally swears (though considerably less than you'd imagine professional athletes cursing) -- one "f--king" and a couple of "s--t"s is the worst of it. Otherwise, the strongest words are "bastard," "freakin'," "crap," and "damn."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not applicable