Monday, September 24, 2007

Amazing Grace [2007]Dvd

I had been looking forward to seeing this ever since the film came out but I regret to say I was disappointed.
Ioan Gruffudd was better than I expected as Wilberforce. My beef is with Michael Apted the director for giving such a blatantly unhistorical drama. I do not have time to list the errors but the two most blatant ones are to do with John Newton. The present tune we sing to Amazing Grace was unknown in England at that time so Wilberforce would never have sung it. Newton was not a monk plagued by guilt for being a slave captain. He was a vicar who knew God's grace and forgiveness, hence the hymn. Right from the start when a screen caption told us the British Empire was built on the back of slaves one sensed that present day (erroneous) judgment may be evident. Wilberforce was not bothered by his addiction to opium. It was the one analgesic available and he controlled, not increased, his dosage throughout his life. I do though doubt that he would have been alone with an unmarried lady, unchaperoned through the night. The production is so inaccurate I thought that the director must be American, but no, to our shame he is British, portraying a royal duke in the House of Commons, Fox erroneously ennobled and still there to give the econium on Wilberforce in the hour of triumph though Fox died before 1807.

It was not merely the historical inaccuracy that disappointed me. The flash backs were confusing and took away from the whirlwind nature of Wilberforce's courtship. I found the whole thing rather dull and not a patch on say, Chariots of Fire for an inspirational Christian theme. It was sympathetically done but could have been so much better. Perhaps viewer's who do not know the real story will be more impressed.

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