“Don’t fret, William…at least you’re still white!”
Contrary to what its title suggests, Amazing Grace isn’t really about the origins of the immortal Christian hymn. Neither is it, directly, about the British slave trade. Instead it’s about the tireless campaign of William Wilberforce, Member of Parliament, to abolish the slave trade in the late 18th and early 19th centuries by arguing against it on the floor of the House of Commons and by bringing the horrors of the institution to public awareness. But by centering on Wilberforce (played with passion but also with a scrubbed, boy-band-ish gloss by Iaon Gruffudd) Amazing Grace deflects the pain and humiliation intrinsic to its subject matter, relegating its only actual African voice to one underdeveloped side character.
Click here to read the rest of Michael Joshua Rowin’s review of Michael Apted’s Amazing Grace.