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Review: Amazing Grace

March 4, 2007

This afternoon, I went to see the motion picture “Amazing Grace,” the story of abolitionist William Wilburforce.

I first heard about this movie several years ago while attending a writer’s conference at Ridgecrest in Asheville.

Ken Wales, the producer of the movie, was one of the workshop leaders at this writer’s conference and he was very excited about the production.  Ken Wales is a Christian producer who lives in Hollywood. You can Google his name and read a great article through the IMDB.  It is a great personal testimony and history about Mr. Wales.

In any event, the movie “Amazing Grace” is a really good movie with historical insight to the controversy of slave trade and the eventual abolition of the practice. Quite frankly, I have always wondered (and been appalled) how supposedly good, Christian  white folks could have ever stood for such anyway.

It’s not overtly clear, but John Newton had incredible influence on William Wilburforce as a young child. (You get it, in the end)  Hopefully, most people know the story of John Newton, the writer of Amazing Grace, the song.  A former slave ship captain, he was saved on one of his trips and became a preacher.  The movie picks up with Wilburforce as an adult man, just entering Parliament.

The movie is not excessively graphic — but information regarding the treatment of slaves is shared.  Personally, I wish every person would watch this movie for that reason alone.  The movie also clearly portrays the attitude that kept slavery an accepted practice for hundreds of years — pure greed.

Obviously, people who do see the movie will be appalled at the greed of those who opposed the abolition of slavery. But I know that at the same time, there will be some who still harbor their own ethno-centric attitudes. (not that any one would necessarily seek to return to slavery)  But there’s still plenty of prejudice that lingers among “good, Christian white folk.”

The one thing that I loved about the movie is the “passion” that is portrayed in William Wilburforce. He gave his life to this cause. He fought against establishment, public opinion and his own emotional and physical health to see the abolition of slavery come to fruition.

In all honesty, “who do any of us know that has given their life to any such cause?”

In the movie, John Newton says that he is haunted by the 20,000 souls that he carried from Africa to the West Indies and America.  The guilt and shame was relentless on his mind and heart and soul.  William Wilburforce dealt with his own demons from this issue. But he believed that God called him to carry this cause … and ultimately see it through.

In addition to a great history lesson, the movie is inspirational to say the least … to dismiss our own complacency for the injustices that are still suffered in our world today.  His goal…his calling was to make the world a better place. Isn’t that our call as well.

Some will find this movie to be boring, I’m sure, simply because of the British dialogue and setting. However, I would submit that history is really never boring when one is willing to consider it’s impact and learn from it. (otherwise, as it has been said, we may be destined to repeat it)

By all means, see the film.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Mariel permalink
    March 15, 2008 11:07 pm

    We saw this film on Netflix last night and agree it is destined to have a profound effect on many viewers.

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