Saturday, August 30, 2008

Movie Review - Amazing Grace

I know I'm late to the party on this one but I feel the need to express some appreciation and some frustration with this movie.

This movie is a depiction of William Wilberforce's fight to end the slave trade in England. His fight was eventually successful. I am not a Wilberforce expert but it appears to be accurate in most respects, with some exceptions for dramatic effect.

I appreciate the movie's portrayal of Wilberforce, from my understanding of his character the portrayal was accurate and honored the man. It also showed that Wilberforce's passion for abolition flowed from his Christian faith, I feared that this would not be the case. I found the movie to be quite compelling in this regard, but I do have some issues on this area that I will mention shortly.

I was also intrigued by his relationship with William Pitt, it is amazing to me how complicated friendship can sometimes be, I think this reflects as much on me as this movie, but Pitt and Wilberforce were close but issues drove them apart and then reunited them.

My one big objection was the portrayal of John Newton, Newton's role was downplayed and Newton himself was, without clarity, portrayed as a Catholic priest. They never identified him as such, but they never identified him as anything. But they referred to him as hearing confession and once as a monk. Newton was a Baptist I am proud to say and I am really confused as to this change in character. I don't understand why they made this change, I don't see that it adds any drama to the movie.

That last gripe aside, I recommend this movie highly. I think it would be an enjoyable movie for all. It could lead to some meaningful conversation with a lost friend or a young Christian being discipled. Like everything else in our fallen world it is a flawed movie, but worth the watch.

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