Amazing Grace, Amazing Movie

Just got back from watching the new movie Amazing Grace. There are a lot of decent movies out there; there are less that are really good; and there only a few that are powerful. Amazing Grace is a truly powerful movie.

The film tells the story of William Wilberforce, the parliament guy who drove the movement to abolish the slave trade in England a couple centuries ago. The script and the acting were good, but the scenery was even better. It made me feel like I was in late-18th-century England. One of the best things about the movie was that it really gives you a feeling for what life was like in that turmoil-ridden period in world history–there are multiple allusions to the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the mental decline of King George III, and the changing face of the globe. That’s the context of the events in the film. The movie really gives a vivid glimpse into this period that marked the birth of the modern age.

The movie also portrays some of the shocking horrors of slavery. Without relying on gory torture scenes or anything like that, the barbarian cruelty of slavery is well depicted.

One problem I had with the film was that it skips around in time quite a bit, which can be pretty confusing. I couldn’t always tell whether we were looking at the present moment, the past, the future, or what. Next time I see it–and there will definitely be a next time–hopefully I’ll be able to follow it better.

For me the highlight of the movie comes during a conversation between Wilberforce and John Newton, the former slave trader who became a Christian and wrote the classic song “Amazing Grace.” The elderly and blind Newton says to Wilberforce something like, “I know just two things: I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great Savior.” Chill bump moment.

Two other chill bump moments came toward the end of the movie. One is when Wilberforce’s bill to abolish the slave trade is passed, and everyone jumps to their feet and cheers while he sits there exhausted, stunned, teary-eyed, and overwhelmed with gratitude. The other one is at the very end when a military marching band (or whatever it’s called) plays “Amazing Grace” (with the bagpipes at the forefront) at Wilberforce’s funeral.

By the way, Wilberforce was buried in Westminster Abbey, an amazing place that Carolyn and I had the privilege of visiting last summer. I’ll write more about that and post some pictures another time.

Two more things about the movie that are among the reasons I highly recommend it: First, the dialogue was witty and edgy without being hokey. Second, it’s inspired me to learn more about the man and the movement. In my book, that’s always the sign of a good movie.

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Published in: on March 9, 2007 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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