Saturday, March 23, 2013

Amazing Grace

In 1797, William Wilberforce, the great crusader for the British abolition of slavery, is taking a vacation for his health even while he is sicker at heart for his frustrated cause. However, meeting the charming Barbara Spooner, Wilberforce finds a soulmate to share the story of his struggle. With few allies such as his mentor, John Newton, a slave ship captain turned repentant priest who penned the great hymn, "Amazing Grace," Prime Minister William Pitt, and Olaudah Equiano, the erudite former slave turned author, Wilberforce fruitlessly fights both public indifference and moneyed opposition determined to keep their exploitation safe. Nevertheless, Wilberforce finds the inspiration in newfound love to rejuvenate the fight with new ideas that would lead to a great victory for social justice. (IMDb)

Amazing Grace is a 2006 film starring Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce, a wealthy politician and reformer. After a religious conversion, Wilberforce considered becoming part of the clergy, but was encouraged to continue to serve God as a politician. While the film does contain a few historical inaccuracies (for instance, he sings Amazing Grace several years before the tune was added to the lyrics), it is a very well made movie that captures the heart and spirit of Wilberforce and the causes he championed.

Frankly, it is one of my favorite films from this century and one I watch several times a year. The emphasis on his relationship God and his belief in treating all humans (and animals; Wilberforce was also a founding member of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) with kindness and respect are done quite well. I highly recommend this film!

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