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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 (email@example.com)
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 »
Early in the film a Papillon or Butterfly dog is seen in Brooks. While Papillons were very popular in the late C18th, the erect-eared Papillon shown is thought to date only from Victorian times. The drop-eared Phalene or Moth Papillon would have been a more usual choice for the movie. See more »
Ioan Gruffudd in Amazing Grace, Michael Apted's new masterpiece - what can I say? The man delivered his usual brilliant performance. What made this one better than all the rest? Why do I think Oscar when I think of his part? Every moment he was on screen drew you deeper and deeper into identifying with William Wilberforce until at the end, when he finally achieves his life's work, you want to clap right along with the people applauding him on screen! When he suffers, you suffer right along with him. From the wry twist of his lips to the pain and devastation in his eyes to the fervent body language as he makes point after impassioned point, you are right there living Wilberforce's life.
The most charming parts were fodder provided by the fabulous screen writing and brought to electric life by Ioan Gruffudd as impassioned Wilberforce, Benedict Cumberpatch as driven and farseeing William Pitt, P.M., Romola Garai as Wilberforce's zesty and feisty wife Barbara and the surprisingly fantastic delivery by Jeremy Swift as Ioan's long-suffering wise butler. Jeremy has a way of delivering a comic line with a punch to your chest that bursts into laughter! Benedict and Ioan have clear chemistry as friends with a vision for the future. You can't help but believe these two would choose to be brothers if they could. But the best and most connected relationship was between Ioan as Wilberforce and Romola as his wife. You could feel the way they were already together even while their characters were still protesting on screen.
Michael Apted riveted the audience, bringing to life politics in a way that made you wish you could run out and find a cause of your own to champion. Again, I say Oscar. I have rarely attended a movie where the audience clapped to the point of hurting their fingers with the thunder they were creating for so bloody long! Entirely throughout the actor credits the audience applauded, only varying the volume for those performances they particularly appreciated. Ioan Gruffudd, Benedict Cumberpatch, Romola Garai, Jeremy Swift, Michael Gambon, and Albert Finney.
All in all, a tour de force movie that should impact everyone with the IMPORTANCE of trying to change that which is NOT RIGHT.
Congratulations to everyone who worked on Amazing Grace. Truly, wonder was on screen today.
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