Reviewed by: Leanne McGrath

"Matt Damon gives one of the best performances of his career."

After 27 years as a political prisoner, Nelson Mandela is freed and elected president of South Africa, embarking on a quest to unite a country torn apart by apartheid. While attending a South Africa Springboks rugby match, he is dismayed to see black South Africans cheer against the home squad.

They feel the players, history and even colours of the team - which has one black member - represent prejudice and apartheid.

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South Africa is set to host the Rugby World Cup a year later and Mandela feels getting the whole country to back the Springboks will be a massive step forward in achieving racial harmony.

He teams up with squad captain Francois Pienaar to gain the team's support and encourage them to victory as success will bring more than a trophy - it will help unite a nation.

This emotional and inspiration true story is brought to life under the expert eye of Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood. He has crafted a remarkably detailed and historically accurate film, with stunning shots of Cape Town and Johannesburg.

There are moments of great poignancy, particularly when Pienaar visits Mandela's tiny, barren stone cell at Robben Island jail. Pienaar is played by Matt Damon, who gives one of the best performances of his career. But the real star is Morgan Freeman as Mandela.

Mandela himself said Freeman was the only actor who could portray him and he was the first person cast. The pair have been friends for years and the actor prepared for his role by painstakingly watching tapes of Mandela to perfect his accent and speech rhythms.

Reviewed on: 07 Feb 2010
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Nelson Mandela's attempt to unite his nation with the help of the rugby world cup.
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Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom