Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Amazing Grace


This is a fairly routine biopic. Not anything to dislike, unless you are a student of history, and I understand there are the usual elisions and compressions and little facts changed for dramatic purposes. But there’s really not a lot to like, either. Like I said, routine, nothing new. It’s a good story, of how one man (of course, it was really a lot more than that in the abolitionist movement in England, but William Wilberforce was the spearhead in Parliament) fought to end the slave trade. And he did, in England. It went on for another half century in America. The director, Michael Apted, was taken to task because he didn’t show the actual, horrible suffering of the peculiar institution, only told about it; this was basically a story of a bunch of outraged white men. But he points out that’s been done, in Amistad and Roots, and the story he had to tell was of legal and ethical maneuvering. I think he’s right.