Amazing Grace, 2006

This is one for historical buffs, Amazing Grace.

Following the life of William Wilberforce and how he attempted to have slavery abolished, this film shows the inspiring acting and emotional grip that fewer and fewer films maintain nowadays. Iaon Gruffudd is definitely a fantastic actor (even keeping Fantastic 4 afloat) and is well used to show Wilberforces extraordinary range of emotional meltdowns. However, my favourite addition was a toss up between Michael Gambon and Youssou N’Dour. Michael Gambon plays a wonderfully sarcastic Lord Charles Fox, who provides some of the light comedy in the film. Youssou N’Dour, who normally does the soundtrack, has a masterful performance as former slave, Olaudah Equiano. His slow speaking and steady facial expressions draw the tears out of you.

One of the best factors about this film was that you really do hate the bad guys, which again, is not something always found in films. In this case, the Duke of Clarence is a vile character and when, towards the beginning, Wilberforce humiliates him for his racism, I could help but smile at his anguish.

The song itself doesn’t actually play a dominant part of the film for the most part. After Ioan’s startling rendition of it a short while in, it remains a background factor yet is still in your mind throughout the rest of the film. Speaking of his rendition, Ioan is a remarkably cracking singer with a very raw performance. It also throws in a little modern day performance at the end of the film, dedicated to Wilberforce, a very nice touch.

As I’ve mentioned, one of the best things about this film is that it actually inspires you, hooks your interest in the subject. Through a series of Jamie Oliver-esque revealings of the truth, you really do feel a weight of sorrow for the victims, which the director more than plays with.

If I had to pick a bad side of this film, it would be two things: the not entirely convincing relationship between Wilberforce and William Pitt, and the sometimes slightly confusing editing. Although the relationship itself is not a particularly badly acted one, it is a relationship we’ve seen oh so many times before, and through that subtle desensitising, it doesn’t have much of an impact when it comes into trouble. As for the editing, I hope it wasn’t just me but I found some of the flicks between past and present events indistuingishable. It relys on you noticing things like the length of Williams hair or whether theyre talking people who are alive or dead.

But those minor things aside, Amazing Grace is a beautiful film, not in a visual sense, but in a tug the heartstrings way. Whether or not the subject of slavery was one that held your attention is high school history, this film will throw you back into it and you’ll feel better for the emotional bond you make with it. A recommended watch.

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