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Amazing Grace is a well-made historical drama abot the man who championed the abolition of the slave trade in England. The political drama is palpable, and the moral strain on the protagonist is conveyed well.
Three and a half stars for a film chronicling an important historical change.
A solid historical recreation of Britain's fight to abolish slavery.
Michael Apted's historical drama Amazing Grace (2007) is exactly as it sounds. It is a fascinating, if too procedural in its approach. Plenty of facts are presented to abolish slavery while the conservative members of England's Parliament guffaw and jest at the expense of the afflicted. The direction is standard, but not amazing as the title might imply. I've never been a fan of the song either, so that minor aspect to this story did not interest me at all.
Amazing Grace shines because of its nuanced portrayals by its splendid array of character actors. Ioan Gruffudd is commanding and likable as the troubled, yet bravely progressive William Wilberforce. Gruffudd's speeches to Parliament are passionate and convincing, giving Amazing Grace a compelling lead. I just didn't like his dull representation during the lame romance portions.
Romola Garrai is a gorgeous redhead lady and a fun spirited actress as the dedicated Barbara Spooner. However, she is wasted by an uninspired romance that just distracted the audience from the importance of ending slavery. Far too much of Amazing Grace's run-time is used up on their unnecessary romance subplot.
Michael Gambon yields a commanding performance as Lord Charles Fox, who goes from conservative viewpoint to actively defending the abolition of slavery. Gambon contributes a serious demeanor with his trademark playful attitude to Amazing Grace.
Similarly, Albert Finney is remarkable as a repentant slave captain John Newton. His despair over his heinous actions is palpable. Finney steals every single scene he is in within Amazing Grace.
On the other hand, Benedict Cumberbatch is surprisingly funny as Prime Minister William Pitt. His chemistry and friendship with Ioan Gruffudd is very fun in Amazing Grace. His darker personality is also shown as he must make difficult decisions during Britain's war with France.
Youssou N'Dour is excellent as the freed slave turned abolitionist Olaudah Equiano. He should have been used more as he brings a realism and heart to his scenes that feel real. This is certainly evident during his explanation of slave ship conduct to Gruffudd's horrified Wilberforce. Similarly, Rufus Sewell adds a genuine rage and rebellion to Amazing Grace's campaign as Thomas Clarkson.
I have to mention Ciaran Hinds is despicable as the villainous Lord Tarleton. His mockery of Wilberforce is monstrous and his presence is undeniable. Likewise, Toby Jones plays the equally heinous Duke of Clarence with a zealous cruelty. Hinds and Jones always bring their A game and I appreciate their dedication to the craft of acting with realism.
Overall, Amazing Grace is too long and slow with a meandering desire to depiction significant historical events. The acting is phenomenal across the board while some are wasted in supporting roles. I do think the romance subplot was totally unnecessary as we did not need to know everything about Wilberforce other than his dedication to a just cause.
Excellent performances, set and clothing design. It definitely does its time period justice. I couldn't care less about its subject matter though, so I found most of it boring, to be quite frank. Most of it is people shouting at each other in a big court room over the issue of the British slave trade.
Look, I'll save you 2 hours of your lifetime by summing this up very concisely: Slavery = bad. There. Now go watch the far superior historic film '12 Years A Slave' instead.
Amazing Grace is terrific, empowering and beautifully presented as it engages its audience with a charismatic tale.
Very well presented, moving portrayal of the historical efforts of William Wilberforce to end slavery.
Definitely one of Micheal Apted's best films.
I liked this much more the second time around, which is often the case. It's very wordy, which can make it a bit dull at times. But if you can cope with these two things there's a decent film there to be watched
I loved the lines. The use of language was superb. Acting was wonderful and artistic director was excellent.
Amazing Grace: While it has the drama and the characters Amazing Grace falls flat on going above and beyond.
On one end a faith based film, on another 18th century political court room drama.