Sunday, June 14, 2015

31: Amazing Grace

Essentially a biopic of William Wilberforce and his slow, gradual move to legally abolish the slave trade in British statute, this one is full of good performances and good thoughts. While Ioan Gruffudd covers Wilberforce comfortably, the portrayals of John Newton (Albert Finney in vintage form) and particularly Pitt the Younger (an early outing for Benedict Cumberbatch) carry tremendous dramatic weight and make the whole story come to life.

And as you may have gathered by now, one of the things I very much like in films and narratives generally is that I like it when they tell me where today's world comes from. This explains - clearly and without too much artistic licence - what the background was, who the main forces were on both sides and even the clever parliamentary and political manoevrings that Wilberforce and co were able to use to move things in the right direction to finally set up abolition. Add to this the underlying message that principles and good ideas really can become reality with a lifetime of effort, along with a note to our generation today about the importance of politics and legislation, and you have a film that is dramatic, relevant and thought-provoking.

At the very least it's worth watching again now that Benedict Cumberbatch is famous.

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