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Movie Review: Amazing Grace

Alternate Title: A Man for all Seasons

Story: The film's creation was inspired by this year's 200th commemoration of Parliament's ban of the transport of slaves by British subjects. Director Michael Apted (the 'Up' series) does a fine job in honoring the man most responsible for the demise of the British slave trade, William Wilberforce.

I liked this film on many levels. I learned things I did not know and it was a well made movie. As Americans, we tend to get caught up in our own collective guilt about slavery but the British were the ones who helped invent the practice and by 1782 (when the film opens) there were over 11 million African men, women and children in bondage all over the world.

How Wilberforce worked tirelessly for the next 15 years to get Parliament to pass his bill is the heart of the film. The inner workings of Government, the politics, the finagling, the rationalizations, the bribes, the scandals and the smearing of character are all sadly too reminiscent of what we still see today.

If you like a good story, a solid cast and a dose of history check out this movie.

Acting: Ioan Gruffudd as Wilberforce was right on target with his passion and earnestness. A fine supporting cast including: Romola Garai, Rufus Sewell, Nicholas Farrell, Michael Gambon, Albert Finney, Ciaran Hinds and Toby Jones

Predilection: I like historical films.

Critters: Many, many critters. Wilberforce loved animals and was a founding member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (now the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). The opening scene has him meeting some people on a road who are whipping their tired horse. We quickly learn what fine man he is (the horse is okay - not to worry).

Food: Lots and lots of fine meals.

Soundtrack: Music by David Arnold was wonderful and who doesn't get all weepy when hearing a fine rendition of 'Amazing Grace'?

Opening Titles: A few paragraphs setting the time and scene.

Visual Art: Attention to detail was excellent.

Theater Audience: A handful of AARP members.

Weather: The weather in London seems to have been very similar to today's weather. A little of everything.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Slavery is a very squirmy topic.

Drift Factor: I did look at my watch during the middle of the film too often.

Tissue Usage: I teared up at the end.

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: Under two hours