This movie is still being released in various parts of Australia so if you planning to see it and haven’t done so yet you may want to give this post a miss.
I enjoyed this movie very much. It is an inspiring story and the movie makers have done a good job capturing Wilberforce’s fight for the abolition of slavery.
One of the difficulties of turning a true story into a movie is the chronology. Do you start at the beginning and proceed according to the natural timing of events or do you start somewhere else and employ flashbacks? Amazing Grace does make use of flashbacks which I found a little disconcerting but overall worked reasonably well.
During the film I was reminded of something I read by Brian McLaren. He was speaking about the way Jesus was able to surprise his opponents. The Pharisee often tried to corner Jesus with difficult questions or situations and Jesus was always able to respond in a way they did not expect. We see this in the way he handled the women caught in adultery, paying taxes to Caesar and questions about marriage at the resurrection. McLaren’s point was, that as Christians, we should be looking to do the same thing whereas often we respond with the standard ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response of the world.
In this movie after years of campaigning the slave trade is dealt a death blow when through Wilberforce’s initiative a bill is passed in parliament that required ships to display their own country’s flag. Through this seemingly innocuous piece of legislation the owners of the slave ships were deprived of protection and the slave trade began to crumble. Two years later Wilberforce was able to have his bill for abolition of slavery passed.
Often as Christians we tend to take things head on (fight) or ignore a situation because it is too hard to change (flight) whereas if we seek God for solutions he may show us other options where we can confound our opponents without using violence or ignoring problems.