Monday, March 12, 2007

Amazing Movie

This weekend I saw the movie Amazing Grace, dealing with the story of William Wilberforce and his fight to end the slave trade in the British Parliment. Because England was the world power, especially on the seas, it could single-handedly end the slave trade from Africa by virtue of its naval might.

It was not a popular cause, because of the economic impact it would have on the country (sugar prices would go up - how would they enjoy tea!). Wilberforce was called a firebrand and even had it insinuated that he was a trator to the throne, due to the political turbulence of the American and French revolutions that affected England's affairs at the time. His health was not good, and he battled his body as well as powerful lords in Parliment.

The story of William Wilberforce is underappreciated in our modern world. Here was a man who lived to the highest Christian standards as well as fighting against the greatest human injustice of his day. His life truly deserves to be told to be an example for us today.

Thankfully, the movie is a highly entertaining vehicle for this! It starts out a little discombobulated, as we catch Wilberforce mid-life, fighting sickness and despair for not prevailing in the battle already. Soon the flashback/modern settings are clear, and it is exciting to see the development of events that lead to the ultimate victory.

Ioan Gruffudd (Horatio Hornblower, Reed Richards in Fantastic Four) does a masterful job both in Wilberforce's youthful exuberance and his measured responses as he matures and wises to the nature of the battle he is in. He brings a strength to the character, and he is a very admirable hero. Albert Finney gives an emotional performance as John Newton, the former slave ship captain who turned away from that evil and penned the immortal hymn, Amazing Grace (hence the title). I was near tears at one point when Newton and Wilberforce interact.

So? GO and see the movie! It won't be at theatres long, so catch it while you can. I had to wait a few weeks before it even came to my area. Then, check out The Amazing Change site. This is a great movie that is worth seeing on its cinematic value alone. However, the people behind it have a greater goal: to inspire people to take action themselves. The Amazing Change is one opportunity to follow through in Wilberforce's legacy.

Enjoy the show. Impact the world.

(Those leaving a comment through Friday are eligible to win a copy of the book The Watchers!)

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