Thursday, August 16, 2007

Amazing Grace

William Wilberforce, as portrayed by Ioan Gruffudd.
Carolyn and I just made it in time to see "Amazing Grace" at Bunbury this afternoon and were both very glad we did, it was great. It's a historical biopic of William Wiberforce, who led a long and ultimately successful campaign in the British House of Commons to abolish slavery in the early part of the 19th century.
Wilberforce's friendship with William "Billy" Pitt the Younger (Benedict Cumberbatch) who became Prime Minister was a central theme in the film as well as being instrumental in the final victory, which came against the ruling aristocracy's deep roots in the slave trade throughout the British Empire and the threat of financial ruin and possible revolution, as was taking place in France at the same time. It took more than 15 years from the first introduction of the abolition bill till it was finally passed and an end was put to the barbaric trade in human cargo.
Wilberforce was both inspired and influenced by his friend and former slave ship captain John Newton,(Albert Finney) whose repentance and transformation is so gloriously memorialised in the song he wrote about his own salvation, Amazing Grace. I knew a little of Newton's story but was not aware that late in his life he became blind, bringing a sublime irony to the lyrics he had penned,
"I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see".

The whole film was well written, well acted and convincingly made. Even though I knew the outcome, I cried at the end when victory was achieved. A beautiful film about a terrible subject.
I highly recommend it.

I have no doubt we will use it at some stage down at Augusta when we're running beach mission.

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