It's a very good movie (movie critic, I am not), with a moving story, and Morgan Freeman portrays Nelson Mandela in a way that is both powerful and deeply human. I wondered how they would set up the racial divide, which could easily be oversimplified. The very first scene is of a white rugby team in spotless uniforms practicing on a green field in front of a private school; a pan across the street shows black children playing soccer in the dust of a township. Mandela's caravan traveling the road between draws both groups to their respective fences, the black children cheering wildly, the white boys quiet and suspicious.
I was actually fairly impressed with how the racial issues were handled. The violence and horror of apartheid was addressed honestly, without demonizing white people as a whole. The deep distrust between racial groups in South Africa and the difficulty of reconciliation was a continuous theme, presented especially well by Mandela's bodyguard, who even at the end found a peace with one another that was still somewhat tentative.
That tentativeness was perhaps what I found to be most honest about the movie - but keep in mind that this is coming from someone who was there not long ago, and had fairly strong reactions to the racial divisions that still exist there. Those shanty towns in the movie are still there. The townships still look the same. The boundaries between the rich white areas and the poor black areas are still just close, and just as clear. Some of the comments made by white people in the movie about what Mandela's election meant for them, are the same comments I heard there, twenty years later.
Perhaps people really did move toward a collective national identity through a rugby team, and through an administration that urged reconciliation. My tour guide at Robben Island (who I seriously think may have played Mandela's friend and consultant in the movie...the guy looked and sounded EXACTLY the same) spoke the same message, that those who imprisoned him for so many years were now his countrymen and brothers, that he and others must set aside the past and forgive in order to move toward a better future for their country. I know, I know, it's just a movie, and it's not supposed to tell the entire story of a country. I guess I just wish that the situation in South Africa was as "solved" as it seems to be at the end of "Invictus."