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-Amazing Grace (PG)

by Dr. D ~

Samuel Goldwyn/ Roadside Attractions, Feb. 23, 2007. Directed by: Michael Apted, 118 minutes, Cast: Ioan Gruffudd (William Wilberforce), Romola Garai (Barbara Spooner), Albert Finney (John Newton), Benedict Cumberbatch (William Pitt the Younger), Rufus Sewell (Thomas Clarkson), Youssou N’Dour (Olaudah Equiano)

This movie was an exceptional experience for me. I go to lots of shows but rarely does one affect me like this one did. It wasn’t so much the exploration of slavery that got me, though that was an important part of the movie and a major emphasis in the story. It was the crusade that William Wilberforce was on to make the world a better place that touched me greatly. What a great example of a Christian making things better where one is planted.

At one point William believed that he had a call from God to serve him in a special way. He was about to give up his position in the Parliament to become a minister. It was John Newton, a former slave ship captain turned preacher (who wrote the famous hymn- Amazing Grace) that convinced him that he could serve God better by staying in the Parliament and by introducing and supporting legislation against slavery and other important issues. Also, that he could be instrumental in making the world a better place to live. His friend William Pitt, who later became Prime Minister, seconded the idea.

William Wilberforce overcame great personal adversity and political opposition to finally bring an end to slavery in the British Empire. A fascinating story of the importance of sticking with it even when it seems like no progress is being made or ever will be accomplished. He really is a hero on a number of different levels.

The movie was well done though a little slow at times. Albert Finney did an incredible job playing John Newton. It is worth going just to see this performance. Ioan Gruffudd was believable and substantial in his portrayal of Wilberforce. Romola Garai as Barbara Spooner, who became William’s wife, added a lot of interest to the movie. Rufus Sewell as Thomas Clarkson was brilliant. Also, Michael Gambon brought memorable comic relief in his part of Lord Fox. The acting was excellent.

I wholeheartedly recommend this movie, a real thought provoking experience.

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