Last night I finally got around to watching the biopic ‘Amazing Grace’.
I confess that I only recently learned about William Wilberforce, the British MP who managed to bring about the end to the slave trade in the British Empire, and then only by way of comparison to John Quincy Adams, who spent his post-Presidential life in the House of Representatives, finally doing something useful in promoting the abolitionist cause, at great personal price, and in so doing, winning the grudging respect of his adversaries from the southern states.
Sadly we live in a world that too often rejects the notion of right and wrong, or attempts to explain away the failure to stand for the former and condemn the latter by alleging that such things are “relative”, or subject to “situational ethics”.
This movie doesn’t do that. What it does do is paint the portrait of a man who took a stand, and stayed standing when all of his colleagues thought him wrong and derided him for it. That kind of courage is inspiring, and indeed, gained him powerful, if unexpected, allies, who gladly worked with him to take advantage of changes in attitude to bring an end to a barbaric practice, and push western civilization a little further down the path of fulfilling its true potential.
And yes, it is pro-Christian, and unabashedly so. I am aware that the current prevailing humanistic philosophy would love to pretend that it could have reached the same conclusions, and done so in an enlightened fashion, but I can’t share this belief, largely because the humanists (who masquerade as “secular” or “neutral” ) answer to no one but themselves, and as such can never recognize or subscribe to absolutes.
The film has some truly moving performances, including that of Albert Finney, playing John Newton, the former slave-ship captain turned clergyman and author of the song ‘Amazing Grace’, and of course Ioan Gruffudd as Wilberforce. The film manages to tell a compelling story, with all the coincident emotion, without being preachy, or heavy-handed, and manages to incorporate humor as well, both in the meetings between Wilberforce and the woman he married, and between Wilberforce and William Pitt, his classmate, contemporary, and Prime Minister of Britain during much of the film.
I recommend this to the Hostages, and anyone else, and I am happy to say that it is a film that you can actually watch with your kids and never have a moment when you flinch at them seeing what is unfolding on the screen.
Ten out of ten bald heads PLUS a NEW rubber fist, for those of you who dig that kind of thing.