Saturday, November 3, 2007

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace is the story of William Wilberforce and his campaign in the late of 18th and early 19th century to abolish the slave trade, at least in Great Britain. After hearing stories how bad the Africans had been treated after being taken from their native land, the bad sanitation on ships and the chains, also the fate awaited them in the plantations; Wilberforce decided to bring the horror to public awareness. He was inspired by John Newton, the writer of the famous song, Amazing Grace. Newton, an ex slave trader, at first refused to co-operate, but in the end had his confession written and published.

To abolish slave trade at that time meant the end of the British Empire, at least that was the lords on House of Commons said. Wilberforce finally got his way when the war with France after the revolution was over.

I think the song Amazing Grace is about how great God's love is and that He saves us sinners from hell. Using the title for this movie, apart from the usage of the song, which is sung three times if I'm not mistaken, I wonder what it means. Is Wilberforce some kind of god who has deliberated the Africans from slave trade? In the movie, James Stephen went to West Indies to take notes and more testimonies from first hands, and back in England, he told his friends a story about a woman and her child and how the mother said that someone came across the sea to save them and that his name was King Wilberforce.

Directed by Michael Apted, and starring good actors like Iaon Gruffudd, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Romola Garai, Youssou N'Dour, Rufus Sewell, Jeremy Swift, Toby Jones, and Ciaran Hinds; Amazing Grace is a worth film to watch, especially if you like history.

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