Rating: PG (for thematic material involving slavery and some mild language)
Recommended for: Ages 13 to Adult
From the makers of Ray and acclaimed director Michael Apted, comes the inspiring story of how one man's passion and perseverance changed the world. Based on the true story of William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd), Amazing Grace follows his courageous quest to end the British slave trade. John Newton (Albert Finney), a reformed slave ship captain who penned the beloved hymn "Amazing Grace," urges him to see the cause through.
This movie. It needs to be watched. William Wilberforce was an amazing man. This movie is historical, it's political, it's Christian. It's a powerful story.
This is a well made movie. The timeline can get a bit confusing if you don't pay close attention, but I don't really have any other complaints. I don't know all the exact historical details, so I can't say exactly how accurate it is, but it seems pretty accurate. It's well-written and well-acted. And I recognize more cast members every time I watch it. It's got Ioan Gruffudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, Albert Finney, Toby Jones...
Amazing Grace is set in England at the end of the 1700s. Obviously, I've never been to England at the end of the 1700s, but it was quite consistent with my knowledge of the time period. It felt very realistic as well, not like it was filmed on a sound stage or in modern areas, but like it was really filmed where and when the movie is set. There's a lot about Parliament. I don't fully understand the British government, but I do understand politics. Politics is important. It affects so many lives in so many ways.
This is the story of William Wilberforce and his fight to end the slave trade. It's told as a flashback as he gets to know the woman who, within about a week of meeting, would become his wife. When Wilberforce became a Christian, he wanted to leave Parliament to do the Lord's work, but John Newton convinced him that he could do both. That's something that's lacking today. Christians have this idea that the only way to serve God is in the church and foreign missions. We forget or don't realize that Christians need to be in every aspect of life. In education, in business, in entertainment, and yes, in politics. Wilberforce dedicated 15 years of his life to abolishing the slave trade. He had to learn that there is more than one way of accomplishing a task, something else that I wish more people would realize.
Character Development: 4.5/5
The characters felt like real people. After all, they all are real people. Sure, there are characters I know better, but that doesn't matter. It's all very real. You can see Wilberforce's passion for stopping the slave trade, his quirks, his strengths and weaknesses. I also loved seeing him and Barbara together. While I think their relationship went way too fast (that's how it really happened, though), you really can see two people who have a lot in common, who are on the same side of practically every issue, who genuinely care about each other.
Amazing Grace is a must watch. It's not a light and fun movie. It's deep and meaningful. But that only makes it even more worth watching.