Amazing Grace Movie Review Essay Rubric

Essay about Amazing Grace

1287 Words6 Pages

Amazing Grace is not a good movie, it is a great movie. Films on History can be lengthy and tedious, but that sure is not the case in this fascinating movie about the famous abolitionist William Wilberforce, who was responsible for steering anti-slave trade legislation through the British parliament. Contrary to what its title suggests, “Amazing Grace” isn’t really about the inauguration of the Christian hymn. Set in the 18th century England, it focuses on William’s political career to abolish the slave trade by arguing against it on the floor of the House of Commons, which placed him at odds with some of the most powerful men of the time. William is a motivated man with one purpose; endeavoring to terminate slavery in the empire.…show more content…

At this point, he is debating whether he should go into the ministry and abandon a political career altogether. His friend William Pitt tries to convince him not to, and tells Wilberforce of his magnificent plan to become prime minister and that he wants Wilberforce there with him. Pitt, still trying to convince Wilberforce to stay in Parliament brings a group of people over to Wilberforce’s house for dinner. While eating, one of the men places a set of chains on the table and begins to explain how slaves are transported in ships. A former slave, Oloudah Equiano, explains the process and shows Wilberforce the branding mark on his chest he got when he was sold. They tell Wilberforce that they need someone to help them to oppose the trade.
John Newton, an elderly priest, served as captain of a slave ship who realized what he was doing was wrong. He then wrote a song to God to free him from the sin of his wrong doing in his correlation with the slave trade; this song was called “Amazing Grace.” Newton acts as indefinite motivation for Wilberforce to continue his anti-slave movement.
Parliament becomes impossible to persuade. There are so many excuses set fourth by the Parliament explaining what effects the lack of trade will cause to the people of the city, as well as many industries. Even with the research Wilberforce gathers and presents to the Parliament, including an autobiography written by his friend/former slave Equiano, but still not one thing happens.

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William Wilberforce was born into the age of the Great British Empire, when the country’s influence around the globe was at its most powerful. It was, however, an age when the rumblings of social discontent were emerging and a time when reformers faced an uphill struggle to be heard.

A good friend and staunch colleague of England’s youngest ever Prime Minister, Pitt the Younger, Wilberforce was entrusted with the policy for the Abolition of Slavery. Torn between a life of spirituality and a career in politics, he was inspired to take his desire for the equality of all mankind into the House of Commons. Seeking the advice of John Newton, a former slave trader who turned to the Church in order to atone for his earlier life, Wilberforce became the rallying voice in Parliament for a fragmented group of like-minded people to fight for the cause and make the people of Britain, and ultimately the world, acknowledge the horror of the Slave Trade.

Amazing Grace follows Wilberforce’s career through his 20’s and 30’s, when he and his fellow humanitarians made the issue of slavery a talking point, not only in political circles, but also throughout the country. They waged the first modern political campaign, using petitions, boycotts, mass meetings and even badges with slogans to take their message to the country at large. Wilberforce steered this cause through the corridors of power and ultimately opened the way for the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire. His success came after decades of fighting when Parliament finally passed the first anti-slavery bill in 1807.

Dove Review

Many Americans understand the issues and history of slavery in America, but few know that it was abolished in England long before it was here in the United States. “Amazing Grace” tells the story of William Wilberforce, the English reformer whose life work was dedicated to freeing slaves under British rule.

Michael Apted directs this enthralling movie that details the life of William Wilberforce and the challenges he faced in the House of Commons as he tirelessly pursued freedom for all mankind regardless of color. With breathtaking scenery and great attention to the detail of the times, this period piece will keep the audience’s attention squarely focused on the issues surrounding the abolitionist movement.

Wilberforce’s Christian faith is the unmistakable motivator in his quest for equality for all of God’s children. His mentor, John Newton, wrote the classic hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Veteran actor, Albert Finney, who played Newton with a driving passion, should be a serious candidate for Best Supporting Actor.

Unlike so many of today’s movies that are full of revisionist history, this film stays true to the facts and should be considered the Gold Standard for historically accurate portrayals in cinema.

“Amazing Grace” received 5 out of 5 Doves for its quality, and we highly recommend that this movie be viewed by everyone ages twelve and above.

Content Description

Sex: Man and woman kiss

Language: H-5; D-1; G-5; A-6; N-2 (spoken by slave owner - not condoned by role models in the film); C-1 (spoken reverently by John Newton)

Violence: Brief images of slaves being treated badly. Dialog discussing extreme conditions on slave ships including rape.

Drugs: Wilberforce is diagnosed with Colitis and is prescribed Laudanum, a highly addictive form of opium. He quits taking the drug when he realizes its debilitating effect.

Nudity: Cleavage appropriate to the times.

Other: Gambling


Company: 20th Century Fox Home Ent.

Writer:Steven Knight

Director:Michael Apted

Producer:Edward Pressman, Terrance Malick, Patricia Heaton, David Hunt and Ken Wales

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 111 min.

Industry Rating: PG

Starring:Ioan Gruffudd, Romola Garai, Benedict Cumberbatch, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon, Rufus Sewell, Youssou N’Dour

Reviewer: Scott Rolfe

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