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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 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. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A special screening of the film was shown in Buncrana, Co. Donegal in Ireland. This was in celebration of John Newton's link with the county, when in 1748 his slave ship, the Greyhound, came ashore after surviving a terrible storm. This event began the spiritual journey for Newton, which culminated in his authorship of the song, Amazing Grace. See more »
After the French Revolution, Charles Fox did not side with William Pitt the Younger. Whilst they were both members of the Whig Party, Fox was a prominent member of a pro-revolutionary faction of the Party, as opposed to Pitt's anti-revolutionary stance. This difference in opinion would typically pit them on opposite sides of the dispatch box. See more »
I was well impressed with Amazing Grace; the period was superbly captured, and the interplay of the main action (the fight of William Wilberforce to abolish British slavery) with the other great events of his time (the American and French revolutions) was well presented. The film stirs the emotions but informs the mind. Ioan Gruffudd as Wilberforce is believable and depicts the tenacious Yorkshire MP with both his bodily weakness and great spirit well. Albert Finney as John Newton renders a moving portrayal of the ex-slave trader turned evangelical minister who influences Wilberforce's decision to remain in politics rather than entering the ministry of the church. Benedict Cumberbatch gives a strong representation of William Pitt, and the overall impression of the film is one whose history has been well researched. Well worth a viewing.
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