intraspace: the review lounge

Thursday, July 19, 2007

amazing grace

a couple of weeks ago, aaron arranged a preview screening of the film 'amazing grace' for our church. this is a film about william wilberforce, who helped abolish slavery in england. it is a high-quality production with brilliant english actors. it stays true to the historical culture of the film by remaining british when the temptation could have been to make it more american for a wider audience.

i was particularly affected by the relationship between former slave-ship captain john newton (played by albert finney), who wrote the hymn 'amazing grace', and wilberforce (played by ioan gruffudd - 'hornblower' and 'the fantastic four').

here are aaron's comments on the film:

I turned up at the Amazing Grace movie and was so busy ensuring that our group of 80 knew where they were going and the process of tickets that I had given little thought to the fact that I was actually there to see the movie. Once everyone was seated I shuffled in and found my seat and was surprised to find myself stirred by emotion. The movie was just starting but I could already sense it was going to be a very inspiring story and so it proved to be.

The story of William Wilberforce’s battle to abolish the slave trade was very well told and it managed to capture the type of emotion and passion that drove Wilberforce. As the movie was telling such an intense story it needed a completely believable cast and in this case they exceeded expectation. Each actor seemed perfect for the role they were playing and you would be hard pressed to find a better example of character casting.

The only thing the movie did not really show was just how horrific the slave trade was. While it did make allusions to the type of treatment slave were subjected to I think it could have been even more impacting had there been just one scene that showed what the slaves had to go through.*

Overall was a most enjoyable movie, it is inspiring what change one person can make if totally committed to a cause.

* watch the film 'amistad' for this

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  • I was sad when I found that I would miss the screening mentioned due to being on holiday. What a nice surprise then, when I found that AG was the movie on our flight. Wilberforce's life is an example of perseverance in the face of continual failure and this was faithfully presented. I too was disappointed at the absence of any dramatic presentation of the experience of the Africans who were the subject of Wilberforce's struggle. There was dialogue a plenty about the slave's suffering but no pictures. Perhaps I am a casualty of my imagination having believed that Wilberforce's tenacious battle was framed by the fact that the suffering of the slaves was so obvious and so intense. In other words, his story has power because the injustice appears so stark to our modern eyes and we can't understand how the powers of the day could have resisted reform for so long. By focusing so much on WW's life and so little on the plight of the Africans it seemed that I had missed some part of the story. Not having read any of the many books on WW's life, the film has whetted my appetite to find more about this giant of the Christian faith, but I am left wishing that the movie made more of the drama of the slavery story.

    By Blogger Boris, at 10:10 PM  

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