Amazing Grace Reviews

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
September 22, 2007
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Nathan Rabin
AV Club
September 22, 2007
Apted's unexpected crowd-pleaser is inspirational, but also surprisingly entertaining.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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David Fear
Time Out
September 22, 2007
It's neither amazing nor graceful.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/6
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
September 22, 2007
A good -- and important -- story, not always well told.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Susan Walker
Toronto Star
March 23, 2007
It is to be hoped that Amazing Grace is not the only, or the last, cinematic celebration of 200th anniversary of abolition, for there are more stories to tell, more imaginatively.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
March 23, 2007
So much to admire and so little to amaze.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Wally Hammond
Time Out
March 23, 2007
Grufudd is fine, passionate and single-minded, though overly Romantic, and quietly upstaged by the extraordinary Benedict Cumberbatch.
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David Denby
New Yorker
February 26, 2007
As square as this movie is, it has been made with eloquence and jaunty high spirits, and it tells a good story that is virtually unknown here.
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
February 23, 2007
Amazing Grace, a prettified take on the life and times of the 18th-century reformer William Wilberforce, carries a strong whiff of piety. It isn't a bad smell; there are notes of roses and treacle in the mix, but also elements of sweat and pain.
| Original Score: 3/5
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
February 23, 2007
A detailed, affecting biography of one of the great souls who moved humanity forward.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
February 23, 2007
Amazing Grace isn't quite an accurate title for this entertaining history lesson, but no one will ever write a song titled 'Amazing 20-Year Period of Parliamentary Maneuvering to End Britain's Role in the Slave Trade.'
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
February 23, 2007
Michael Apted's compelling and highly informative Amazing Grace is an apt celebration of America's Black History Month, even though its story takes place in England.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
February 23, 2007
Director Michael Apted tells the story with dry devotion to parliamentary procedurals and a worshipful approach to Wilberforce. But [actor] Gruffudd lacks the intensity and charisma to pull it off.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
February 23, 2007
Amazing Grace is the stuff of great lessons and inspiration and hope, and if it's all delivered with a bit too much moral push, well, moral push apparently was what William Wilberforce was all about. There's another word for such dweebs: Heroes.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
February 23, 2007
Director Michael Apted has turned out a movie that might be best described as faithful, both in its attention to accuracy and in its acknowledgement of the role faith played in righting one of the great social wrongs.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
February 23, 2007
In building his movie around a single issue, Apted succeeds in capturing a rough-and-tumble side to politics that never feels too far removed from our own day.
| Original Score: B
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Michael Booth
Denver Post
February 23, 2007
I'm sure [director] Apted meant well, but Amazing Grace comes across as a surprisingly graceless biopic narrowed down to one white man's uncomfortable burden.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Teresa Budasi
Chicago Sun-Times
February 23, 2007
The film is inspiring. When Wilberforce finally achieves victory, Lord Fox makes a speech, in which the opening words, sadly, still ring true today: 'When people think of great men, rarely do they think of peaceful men.'
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
February 23, 2007
Screenwriter Steven Knight gracefully articulates the many domestic and international forces at work.
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
February 23, 2007
It's a doughty movie, stuck halfway between Masterpiece Theatre and Classics Illustrated.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
February 22, 2007
Amazing Grace is a case of good works done well...[an] admirable historical drama.
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
February 22, 2007
[Apted's] picture, openhearted and enthusiastic, is partly an ode to Wilberforce and partly a love letter to the simple act of taking action.
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Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
February 22, 2007
Like Steven Spielberg's glossy Amistad before it, Amazing Grace shies away from the texture and complexity of color, scurrying instead for the safer platitudes of black and white -- good and evil.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
February 22, 2007
Director Michael Apted and his team understand the challenges of this kind of story and have met them with intelligence and energy. [He] has managed to be true to the outsized emotions of the story without giving way to sentimentality.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
February 22, 2007
[Director Michael Apted] has an unfortunate penchant for bland stateliness, and never more so than in Amazing Grace.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
February 22, 2007
Amazing Grace arrives Hollywood-slick, a polished British period piece. It manipulates, but then again, so does the song that gives it its title. Movies, like hymns and history, should give us a good cry.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
February 22, 2007
A stirring and still relevant political drama with a stellar cast.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
February 22, 2007
Steven Knight's ponderous script is front-loaded with expository deep background and stuffed into an awkward structure that lumbers back and forth between Wilberforce the early idealist and Wilberforce the broken man.
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
February 22, 2007
As written by Steven Knight, it seems so taken with Wilberforce's moral magnificence, it forgets to involve the audience, too.
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
February 22, 2007
That rare bird: a tear-jerker about the House of Commons and the antislavery movement in England. Michael Apted's idolatrous portrait of abolitionist William Wilberforce is wall-to-wall with intriguing characters and deeply felt performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
February 22, 2007
The rhythms [director Michael Apted and editor Rick Shaine] establish are jumpy and unsteady, afraid of allowing a scene to breathe and flow naturally. If the script were more alive, these matters of visual technique would matter less. But not much less.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Phil Kloer
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
February 22, 2007
If you seek a movie that is uplifting, enlightening and ennobling, then Grace is for you.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Gregory Kirschling
Entertainment Weekly
February 21, 2007
It leaves the blood unstirred.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
February 21, 2007
Apted is without a doubt one of the foremost documentarians working today. His Up Series represents a cinematic hallmark. His feature credits are less certain.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
February 20, 2007
Michael Apted's Amazing Grace is a beautifully chiseled blunt instrument. No, it's not subtle, but how subtle was slavery?
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
February 14, 2007
Michael Apted's Amazing Grace, from a screenplay by Steven Knight, turns out to be blessed with inspirational nobility and comic eccentricity to bring it to emotional fruition.
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Eddie Cockrell
Variety
September 15, 2006
A workmanlike costumer that distills Blighty's long battle for the abolition of slavery and the personalities behind landmark antislavery legislation into a tidy story of conscience and perseverance.
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
September 13, 2006
The political maneuverings are of some historical interest, but modern relevancy is hard to find.