After his 27-year imprisonment and subsequent election as President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) faces the daunting task of unifying a country divided by race. Only months since the end of Apartheid, divisions still exist between the country's whites and blacks, something Mandela notices during an international rugby match. Realising black supporters cheer on the opposing side when their predominantly white Springboks take to the field, Mandela sets about altering their perception of the team as a symbol of prejudice and repression.
Enlisting the help of captain Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), Mandela proposes that the struggling Springboks work to improve their poor form. If they can put in a good performance at the upcoming 1995 Rugby World Cup, Mandela believes it will inspire the entire population to support the team as one.
Clint Eastwood continues to prove his directorial talents with this stirring sporting drama. With an uplifting true story, he draws plenty of power and emotion from the on-pitch action, adding substance with the interesting socio-political backdrop. The two leads, both Oscar nominated for their roles, are perfectly cast, with Freeman subtly embodying the iconic leader and Damon totally believable as the inspirational captain.
Despite most viewers knowing how the story ends, this classy drama is a thoroughly enjoyable watch.