Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Movie “Amazing Grace”

I saw the movie “Amazing Grace” recently, and I highly recommend it to you. It is the story of William Wilberforce, who, as a member of the British Parliament, almost single-handedly convinced Parliament to abolish the British slave trade. It took many years to accomplish, but he did it. This movie is his story. It is a very well done movie, and is something you can take the kid to. It is still playing in the area, or you can rent it when it comes out on DVD.

Below is a review of the movie from World Magazine if you would like to know more about the movie:

As an agnostic, director Michael Apted likes studying people of faith. That interest lured him to direct “Amazing Grace” (PG for thematic material involving slavers and some mild language), a film about 19th-century abolitionist William Wilberforce. What he found was an intriguing, almost paradoxical historical figure, both devout Christian and shrewd politician.

Portraying this “brilliant balance,” Apted told WORLD, was difficult. “You don’t want to dim his faith, nor do you want to make him look politically naïve.”

Apted had Wilberforce’s words and historical record to keep them on track. They scoured his writings and speeches, as well as the work of Wilberforce biographers. The result is a beautifully lyrical story, in which Wilberforce’s faith is the gently guiding motor. They are mindful of the fact that few Americans have even heard of Wilberforce, 4 percent, to be exact.

Apted’s goal was to make “a heroic story about politics,” he said. The film’s opening (Feb. 23), mostly in independent theaters, coincides with the day Wilberforce finally succeeded in pushing an abolition bill through Parliament, with an overwhelming vote in the House of Commons in 1807.

The film follows Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd) over the 20 years it took to achieve this “great object.” Following his conversion, he grappled with how to serve God and remain a politician. “We humbly suggest that you can do both,” one abolitionist remarked, as Wilberforce first learns of slavery’s horrors.

The film also does well to explain Wilberforce by powerfully portraying his closest friends and guides, including witty Barbara Spooner (Romola Garai), whom Wilberforce marries, and John Newton (played by Albert Finney).

Finney’s moving Newton matures alongside Wilberforce, even as he encourages his protegé’s fight. First fearful of his “20,000 ghosts”—the slaves Newton once transported— he eventually exorcises them by making a historical record of his murderous old work. Along the way he remembers two things: “I’m a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” So summarizes the film: Great grace makes great men. Whether Christian or not, viewers will find a rich, inspiring narrative of an effective man of faith. And that makes an amazing story. © World Magazine, Feb. 24, 2007, Vol. 22, No. 7

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