Movie Review

Amazing Grace

MPAA Rating: PG for thematic material involving slavery, and some mild language

Reviewed by: Rev. Bryan Griem
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens, Family
Genre:
Drama, Thriller, Historical, Biography
Length:
1 hr. 51 min.
Year of Release:
2007
USA Release:
February 23, 2007 (wide)
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films/Roadside Attractions/Bristol Bay
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films/Roadside Attractions/Bristol Bay
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films/Roadside Attractions/Bristol Bay
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films/Roadside Attractions/Bristol Bay
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films/Roadside Attractions/Bristol Bay
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films/Roadside Attractions/Bristol Bay
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films/Roadside Attractions/Bristol Bay
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films/Roadside Attractions/Bristol Bay
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films/Roadside Attractions/Bristol Bay
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films/Roadside Attractions/Bristol Bay
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films/Roadside Attractions/Bristol Bay

A single man or woman can help change the world. Read about some who did with faith and God’s help…
Jesus Christ, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and David

Slavery and the Bible

What are the consequences of racial prejudice and false beliefs about the origin of races? Answer

Should Christians seek political power or should we only focus on evangelism? Answer

Racism, Racial Issues and Christianity
Get biblical answers to racial hot-topics. Where did the races come from? How did skin color come about? Why is it important to have a biblical foundation for such issues?

Were all of America’s Founding Fathers racists, pro-slavery, and hypocrites? Answer

Featuring: Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Gambon, Romola Garai
Director: Michael Apted
Producer: Terrence Malick, Ken Wales, Patricia Heaton, David Hunt, Edward R. Pressman, Bob Beltz, Mark Cooper, Jeanney Kim
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films/Roadside Attractions/Bristol Bay

“Behind the song you love is a story you will never forget.”

Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films/Roadside Attractions/Bristol BayRead our behind the scenes interview with this film’s director - GO

Telling people that I just saw a movie about William Wilberforce has drawn more quizzical looks than I would have expected, and it is for this reason that, periodically, we owe Hollywood a debt of gratitude for making historic pictures such as “Amazing Grace.” Having to explain this bit of abolition history to people has given rise to my own interest in learning more about the story, and I think it may lead others similarly. Suffice to say, history is not boring when well told, and I don’t think audiences will think this movie to be boring either. My eleven year old son, who was enamored by the fact that the main character, Ioan Gruffudd, was also one of the “Fantastic Four” superheroes in the movie by that name, was not bored, and actually enjoyed the film very much. He has been studying the subject of slavery in school, and this movie has given him food for thought, and both of us fare for spiritual discussion.

The movie begins at the then current time in Wilberforce’s life, when he is older and ill, and then flashes back to the beginning of his career in Parliament. Wilberforce perpetually presents bills to eliminate the African slave trade, only to have them repeatedly voted down by his colleagues. One colleague favorable to him is to eventually become Prime Minister, and so the two work together, drip by drip, to finally realize their noble objective.

There is an interesting intersection of history and faith at work in this movie, as the slave trader-turned-clergyman, John Newton (played by Albert Finney), makes an appearance. Newton wrote the renowned hymn for which the movie is named, and the song is sung or played several times throughout the story. He utters good and laudable things like, “I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great savior!” He often gives spiritual advice to the young Wilberforce, including the part about God working for change by drips rather than storms. As well, the pastor contributes to the decision of Wilberforce to continue in politics for God, rather than to leave politics for God.

“Amazing Grace” offers many things for the person of faith to consider, and gives a strong message to those outside. This is a film about struggle in life; about staying the course, fighting the good fight, and being salt AND light in a fallen world.

The visual appeal of the movie fills in where mere story leaves off, and it is quite something to see imagined, the greatest power on earth, over two centuries ago, during the time between the American Revolution and the end of the French one. There are no graphic and gory scenes of tortured victims in this movie, like one might have seen in “Schindler’s List,” or “Amistad” (another movie on slavery). Instead, there are dreamlike allusions to workers near fiery sugar cane furnaces, and visual aids are presented to explain what occurred. This was a surprise, yet all the points were made and not in the least lacking as a result of absent graphics.

Kudos to the producers who put forth this movie of strong Christian activism! It is not a movie espousing limp-wristed, “be warm and fed” Christianity; it is the kind that acts upon its beliefs. Several clergymen, invited by Wilberforce’s friend, William Pitt (Benedict Cumberbatch), pay a visit to the famed statesman, only to add their own convictions that he should not choose between God and country, but that his newfound faith is what should move him all the more toward creating a better world under God.

One of the producers of this film is actress Patricia Heaton, better known for her role on the “Everybody Loves Raymond” sitcom. She is an ardent Christian activist and strong prolife supporter, and the contemporary abortion issue is not unlike the abolition issue of Wilberforce’s era. Wilberforce gave his life to end the hideous and deadly trafficking of human beings in his time. It was his Christian convictions that drove him on, and despite politics, and all the excuses given by representatives of the slave business, he continued to stand for what was good in the sight of God. Wilberforce is thus remembered well, and his work changed the world. Should any in our day begin to weary in the task of ending the abortion trade, they would do well to observe a life of one who didn’t give up when things got hard. Something of worth is worth working for, and right IS might.

There is much good in this film, and I would personally recommend it to any who would ask. Depicted are scenes of money being given to the poor and food being served to the hungry. Fear engulfs the unsaved on their deathbeds, and gratuitous sex and violence are nowhere to be found. “All men are created equal” is declared, and marriage is upheld.

What may be found objectionable in this film is minor, and perhaps even absent in the minds of some Christian communities, but there are a handful of items, some of which are language matters, that should be noted. Wilberforce sits on dewy grass, then announces that his posterior (referred to by a three letter synonym) is wet. The same word is used when the abolitionist opponents were scolded to get theirs moving back into the chamber for a vote. The word “bloody” is used, and this will probably not disturb American ears. The British and Australians, however, seem to be uncertain as to whether this is a legitimate expletive or just an adjective that lends force to a following noun. It is arguably a crudity more than anything. A couple of times, there is a reference to the more profane term for Hades, but even then it seems light, or even warranted. “God” is also uttered a time without specific reference to Him, so there again, an inappropriate and somewhat offensive use.

Because the movie is set in a specific time with its peculiar manners and attire, the fashion of the day for women displayed a busty bit of cleavage. There is nothing especially lewd or overmuch here, only notable and likely to be marked by some who would consider this immodest by their understanding of biblical standards. Similarly, characters drink alcohol, although there is no drunkenness of which to speak. Christians will line up on both sides of this issue, to be sure. The same might be said for the parliamentary pastime of playing cards. One such incident included gambling, and provided a fairly intense moment in the movie when the King’s son, the Duke of Clarence (Toby Jones), ran out of pocket change and bet his slave. Wilberforce immediately forfeited the game and left the table. The Duke referred to his slave using the n-word.

A particular form of opium is prescribed for Wilberforce by his doctor, so it would be a stretch to lump this in with illegitimate drug use, but I mention it in case someone cannot, for whatever reason, countenance the use of medicines. In addition, there are a few background scenes of men smoking pipes.

Viewers of this movie, especially Christians, will walk away richer for the experience. Our sin brings so many evils into the world, but when one who serves Christ stands firm, the tide can turn; it has, and it will, and William Wilberforce is a fine example. People who like history in general, will enjoy the retelling of this monumental moment of fairly recent times, and critics will not find too much to complain about. See the film.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Comments available:
Positive
Positive—What a beautiful movie, from beginning to end! It had such depth to it: the characters, the story, the faith presented. I still think about it all the time. I feel changed after seeing this movie. The fight against slavery reminds me so much of the another unpopular moral battle that rages today: Abortion. Thank you to all those involved in the making of this movie! For giving us a glimpse into the important things that really matter in this life. A movie I will add to my DVD collection when it comes out.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Anna, age 47
Positive—“Amazing Grace,” by “Gorillas In The Mist” director, Michael Apted, IS “amazing,” in that it is a film that leaves you feeling happy and blessed to be a believer and to have seen such a great piece of cinematography! The acting is moving, believable and strong, and you feel you are in the presence of greatness even with this small part, actor Albert Finney played as John Newton, author of the powerful hymn which inspired the movie and apparently William Wilberforce’s campaign against slavery. Who knew that Newton was a slaver and then lived a kind of Anglican monastic life!? Be warned though, some of these actors have been in some ripe material over the years, so don’t be tempted to watch all they have done until you have rented and reviewed away from the kids.

For example, Finney was in infamous “Erin Brockovich,” far-fetched “Big Fish,” and noteworthy for a plump, naked, swearing “Winston Churchill;” Wilberforce’s character is played by the “Titanic” and “Horatio Hornblower” star, Welsh Actor Ioan Gruffudd, (Pronounced YO-an GRIFF-ith), and the young Prime Minister at only 24!!, William Pitt, played by Benedict Cumberbatch (yes, some Brits have funny names!) was in “To the Ends of the Earth” by “Lord of the Flies” author William Golding, the former a nautical movie in the mold of Russell Crowe’s “Master and Commander,” but promoting lust through prostitution and clergy-sailor homosexuality and clergy-suicide, and the latter, cannibalism and boy on boy violence. In “Amazing Grace,” you never do hear the hymn all the way through, but the audience was singing along, laughing, crying and applauding, which in 2007 is pretty amazing in itself! My only criticism is that the abolitionist movement is portrayed as a work of God and ordinary men and women, but without much prayer. When Pitt is afraid of death, all he gets is his hand held, and the man who should know how to share Christian Truth is strangely silent. Overall, a wonderful hour and fifty-one minutes… over too quickly …I can’t wait to buy it and see it again! Well done Hollywood—people love this stuff!!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Christopher Marsden Winter, age 51
Positive—I was looking forward to this movie, because I believed it would share the gospel. I spend much time sharing my faith and what a great opportunity for millions to view a movie and leave knowing who Jesus is.

I thought this was wonderfully made …cinematography, costumes, directing, acting, however the gospel is not present. The “mentor” (Albert Finney) is a Catholic, and the Catholics for the most part don’t know the gospel and are not sure of their salvation, because it is against the Catechism of the Catholic church as well as the Catholic doctrines to be assured of your salvation… this is the 'sin of presumption'… the best they can hope for is to be in purgatory as short a time as possible, and hopefully enough relatives will pay indulgences to the Catholic Church to get them out. We know that this is not Biblical. But I will do further research on this song of “Amazing Grace” …it is possible for a Catholic monk/priest, such as this Character to be saved and leave the false system of the Catholic church.

So, it was a great movie from a historical point of view. I came away learning much about slavery and what this one brave man did, and how he suffered for his cause. I just don’t believe a non-Christian will walk away knowing that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and understand how they can be saved and live with him in heaven eternally. I don’t believe this movie is suitable for young children. there is a scene at the beginning where a horse is brutally beaten. My 11 yr old would be affected by this.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Dr. T. Dahdah, age 49
Positive—One of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It is very inspiring and well made.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Alexis, age 29
Positive—“Amazing Grace” is a wonderful story of a man’s struggle between spiritual ideals and political ideals to make his faith effect society. The film captures so much of the frustration with Wilberforce’s lifelong struggle against the slave trade. I love history, and this a very inspirational story and I really enjoyed it. I knew a little of his life and work before I went and was not disappointed. Not a children’s movie, but serious drama for those 12+. There is nothing I caught in watching that was something a younger child could not see, but only that the basic story may be too mature. For those over twelve, I highly recommend it, as I will to my students.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—John Fox, age 53
Positive—Amazing Grace was refreshing! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a film that didn’t have offensive language, or behavior. Everything in the film was appropriate and handled well. The references to the hymn we all know and love was spoken through out the film and even sung a cappella by the main character sending chills up and down my arms. There are also many references to prayer and the Bible as well. “I once was lost, but now am found” was the most powerful line in the whole movie—spoken by the main character’s former minister. An excellent film for the entire family.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Kimalee Finelli, age 31
Positive—What a beautiful movie, from beginning to end! It had such depth to it: the characters, the story, the faith presented. I still think about it all the time. I feel changed after seeing this movie. The fight against slavery

reminds me so much of the another unpopular moral battle that rages today: Abortion. Thank you to all those involved in the making of this movie! For giving us a glimpse into the important things that really matter in this life. A movie I will add to my DVD collection when it comes out.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Anna, age 47
Positive—This was one of the few movies that I didn’t do much research before going to see. (I was already familiar with who William Wilberforce was, I had read the excellent article in WORLD magazine on this film, and then my brother reminded me that this film was about to be released.) My parents and I were very impressed with the truth and boldness about Christian politics in the movie. So few films bother to dive into Christian themes beyond a weak prayer here and there, but this films goes the whole 50 yards… with no apologies about its message! I appreciated that this movie featured truth, intelligence, and tenderness. Thankfully, there are humorous lines that lighten some of the story. Above all, there were no scenes of sexuality or coarse words that tarnished the film… and for being there with my father, I was so thankful! This film definitely makes me want to read more about Wilberforce and the events of the abolishment of the slave trade in England. Hopefully, this film will also spark spiritual discussions with non-Christian friends and co-workers. I am recommending this film to everyone I know… and I hope others will do the same. We need to let Hollywood know that this movie is appreciated for its moral boldness!!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Carolyn, age 21
Positive—February 23rd, was the 200th anniversary of the slave trade being abolished in Great Britain. The man responsible for getting that accomplished was William Wilberforce, and this movie is about his struggle for years to get parliament to listen to him. I really liked this movie. It is made well and has a lot of good actors in it. The lead is played by Welsh Actor Ioan Gruffudd (Pronounced YO-wahn GRIFF-ith) who was in “Fantastic Four” and the lead in the “Horatio Hornblower” series. The movie brings out the fact that he was a man with faith in God (but perhaps not portrayed as strongly as was the actual truth) and how he fought the idea of his political vocation being a calling from God. Some of the best scenes are when he goes to visit his old friend, and former pastor, John Newton. John is played by award winning actor Albert Finney (Big Fish, Erin Brockovich, Annie) who plays the part with a lot of feeling. My favorite part is when Newton says, 'Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly. I’m a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.' They do talk about the fact that John wrote the words to Amazing Grace and they sing it a couple of times in the film, but some think the title would be more fitting as a film about Newton. They tell about how Newton was once a slave trader himself and got saved, and went on to be a preacher. He seemed to give William the inspiration he needed to not give up on his mission.

This is a British film with British actors and some may find it hard to follow, slow moving or even boring at times. I watch Masterpiece Theater a lot, so I had no problem following it. The spiritual aspects in the film are handled with sensitivity and truth, just the way they did in “Chariots of Fire,” one of my all time favorite films. This is directed by Michael Apted (Coal Miner’s Daughter) who is a fine director and also stars Ciarán Hinds (The Nativity Story, Munich) and Michael Gambon (Harry Potter movies). I recommend it realizing that it may not be entertaining for everyone. It is certainly a good history lesson on how slavery was abolished at the time. I guess in reality, Wilberforce was a much smaller man, but most people will probably not even know that. I felt that it built to a fine emotional impact at the end.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Warren Sager, age 49
Positive—No one should miss it. What an exceptional experience. Although it is fully accurate historically, they do not show abuse of the slaves, but there is some verbal description of it. The focus is on the determination of one man vs. almost everyone else to bring slavery to an end. The romance is ideal including from moral, intellectual, and realistic standpoints. This movie is better than all the Oscar nominees rolled up in one. Tell everyone you know.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Sue, age 49
Positive—Christian or not, this was an excellent historical, abolitionist movie. When the movie was over, the entire crowd just sat there quiet. Then one person started clapping and everyone clapped. Hardly a dry eye in the place. Anyone who is against the horrors of slavery will be glad to see this movie. I wish there were more heroes like Wilbur. Very moving…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Mark, age 49
Positive—I can’t remember a time when I was so powerfully moved by a movie. The struggle of William Wilberforce both spiritually and politically is indeed an inspiration. I am at a loss to the negative comments about this movie. Yes, there was an occasional bad word (very few), but that only demonstrates that even the “best” Christian has faults and still needs a Savior. When John Newton declares, “I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior!,” we have the entire gospel presented. I think this is a great tool, both for the saved and the unsaved. God can use anything to draw men to Him and as Paul said, 'I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some' 1 Corinthians 9:22. I will be highly recommending this film to everyone I know.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Cathy, age 47
Positive—Wow! At the urging of our daughter we went to see this excellent movie this afternoon. Not only was the movie well-done, the artistry exceptional and the acting superb but the impact of the movie was powerful. It just goes to show you what a difference this medium can make when it is used for good. Never was the passion and integrity of William Wilberforce compromised by watered-down dialogue or wishy-washy sentiment. We walked out of the theater feeling like we knew this man and the “force” that drove him. In several places the movie could have taken a more “palatable” turn to accommodate for the non-Christian viewer by choosing a humanitarian rather than a God-driven focus, but it never did. And, although we heard the name of Jesus only once, God was a central and important figure in the story. Applause to Patricia Heaton and others for making such a wonderful movie. We highly recommend it for all members of the family, as the very minor objectionable parts were hardly noticeable.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Pam, age 51
Positive—An excellent movie with Albert Finney… The Christian aspect did not to me seem to be emphasized enough. American view of History especially British history was refreshingly accurate. The film did not resort to showing terrible scenes of deprivation and still got its point across. The song was that which I requested at my Baptism when I new nothing of its origin. It just spoke to me. I now know of its origins and I am proud that God’s amazing grace has saved a wretch like me. Patricia Heaton’s name amongst the credits surprised me and I now know that she has been part of other Christian projects which is gladdening as I was a big fan of Raymond. The Historical references with the war with France I found a little confusing. As the Bill was passed in 1807 yet the war with France was not ended till 1815. The revolts in France was 1789 which is referred to many times as though it was happening at that time. Too many flash backs and then forwards.

I hope that the American public can see that the motivation behind British Abolitionists was based on Christian principles, rather than the American ones who in the end based their cause on Economical values. I would recommend everyone to see this movie and realize that Faith in Christ is the key to all victories.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Alan Watton, age 55
Positive—This is a must see for all Christians. It’s the true story of a man who lived out his faith by fighting for the very unpopular cause of eliminating slavery in early 19th century England. It’s one of the few modern films which portray Christians in a positive light. It’s also a valuable history lesson and a fascinating story.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Sue, age 45
Positive—I would recommend this film for everyone. While the subject matter is not all positive, it is an accurate account of the events depicted in this film. As a Christian, I fully endorse this film. I give it 5+ stars. A must see!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Barbara Palmer, age 48
Positive—I would have liked to have seen a statement of what can be done to work to end current human trafficking around the world, including the USA. People were primed to act, and an opportunity was missed. Great film though.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Jane, age 44
Negative
Negative
Negative—I’m at a loss anymore. Why is it that every time a film comes out that should really be labeled marginally “Christian,” it is automatically touted by the Church as some great and moral “must see”? This film is full of profanity, much of which BLASPHEMES OUR GOD!! You know, the same God that said, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Have we become so cold anymore to holy living that a film that blasphemes God’s name (one site said nearly a dozen times!), is ok with us? (I know, I know, in this day and age such a question is moot in light of Christendom’s ever-degenerating moorings). I place this film right along side “End of the Spear” and “The Nativity” where both had the potential to really be a witnessing tool to a lost world, but instead what we get are actors whose lives are controversial off screen and thus neutralizing the film’s effectiveness. Do you really think I’m going to take an unsaved friend to see Amazing Grace when it contradicts the very Christian worldview I’m trying to encourage that unsaved friend in; when it openly blasphemes God? What Christ are we following anymore? Our own? An invention?

First, we as “Christians” were insistent that the name “Jesus” need not be used so much in our art. After all, we said, we don’t have to use Jesus’ name in “everything” we do. “I’m an artist who just ‘happens’ to be a Christian,” we said.

Hogwash! I’m here to tell you that we are Christians first and everything else second—or we’re not Christians at all! We are called to a higher standard than this; to live a life holy and acceptable unto God.

I am appalled (and I’m sure I’m alone in this) that these online movie reviewers attempt to highlight all that’s wrong in the film which includes profanity, nudity, and violence and then turn around and have the audacity to say: “Viewers of this movie, especially Christians, will walk away richer for the experience.”

No, mister reviewer, true Christians will NOT walk away “richer for the experience”, they will walk away compromised having given in to a worldview that is a contradiction and ultimately a stench in God’s nostrils. When will we make a movie that glorifies God without contradiction? When will we be Christians?
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Tomo, age 35
Negative—I do not recommend this movie. Yes, it was a wonderfully done historical movie, and William Wilberforce’s story is an excellent one to study and to be an inspiration to us of living our convictions. And that is the very reason I cannot recommend this movie. I felt like we were morally violated, especially our boys. There were extended periods in which the audience was staring into an extremely low-cut busty female from above; basically, you saw most of her breasts for several fairly lengthy periods as she and Wilberforce conversed.

This was not a situation like a mall where Christians can look away from immodest images. It was a movie where you are a captive audience and you are there for the sole purpose of staring at the screen for entertainment. I walked out of the movie, but there were many Christians at that showing who chose to do the very thing that Wilberforce so passionately believed was wrong—staying and accepting whatever the culture tolerates, whether or not it is biblical.

I realize that some Christians would say that this is tame compared to all the other stuff that’s out there. But, we don’t hold “other stuff” as our standard of comparison because all that does is constantly lower the bar of morality. For that same reason, we don’t accept sexual content in the name of “historical or cultural accuracy.” Watching historically accurate sexual images doesn’t suddenly make it 'pure…. of good repute… worthy of praise.' (Phil. 4:8)

The other very bad content (even more so) is that God’s name is used profanely, in expressions. How can we be entertained by watching people verbally blaspheme God? I just want to warn Christians who have not yet gone to the movie and are considering it. You need to know about the content. I regret that we took the recommendations of others and didn’t do our normal in-depth research. We won’t make that mistake again. It would have been so easy for the producers to remove the objectionable content and let us all enjoy a really wonderful movie. But they didn’t. We Christians are slowly being desensitized to accept ungodly things in the name of entertainment (or history). I would surmise that if you asked any of those who gave this movie a positive review whether it would have hurt the movie to get rid of the cleavage and the profane references to God, they would agree that it would not hurt the movie one bit; none of that objectionable content was necessary. Yet very few Christians complain.

We need to let producers know that a ‘Christian’ movie is one that shows Christ being honored, not one that uses profanity and sex, however ‘mild’ it is claimed to be.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 5
—Barb, age 51
Comments from young people
Positive—An excellent film. Walked away from the theater NOT feeling morally polluted, or hyped up on adrenaline. Like another great film, “Luther,” this flick proves yet again that movies can be Christian without being boring. I highly recommend watching it, you’ll walk away smarter.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Ross, age 17
Positive—This is a wonderful film, I say it expecting an interesting, but somewhat dull experience. my personal preference is for action movies, yet this film was absolutely engrossing with it’s vivid characters and locales. I would definitely watch this film again.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Andre Gerner, age 16
Positive—We went to see this movie opening night and the theater was packed. It truly is “Amazing!” and one I would tell everyone to definitely see! They talked about God in scenes throughout it and there were some quotes that made me think “wow!” like when John Newton is speaking and says “Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly. I’m a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” It really gave me some things to think about.

The characters all played their parts well, especially Ioan Gruffudd, who played William Wilberforce. Some younger children might be frightened, and kids around 11-13 might be bored (as my brother was) in some parts, but my friend and I really enjoyed it! I think the only negative would be that it wasn’t longer! I could have watched it for another hour! This is a movie well worth your time watching!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Heleena, age 14
Positive—I went to “Amazing Grace” with my dad, and the movie was pretty good. It is a great historical movie and it shows the political fights over slavery. I think it is probably the best historical movie of the year because it is based on historical facts and I found the costumes and the scenery very interesting and they brought me into the movie.

It also mentions God, especially when William Wilberforce (he’s the one who ended the slave trade in 1805) prays for God’s help during the movie and it has some funny jokes in it to but it is mostly a serious movie and I only heard a giggle once from the crowd (the crowd was about 10-15 people). There is really nothing bad to say about it because it has a great movie line and the people in it are great actors. So thus ends my review but I also think it is about a four and a half star movie!
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Jonathan, age 11
Positive—I thought this was a great movie, overall. It was just a little boring in some parts, but it is definitely worth seeing!!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Holly, age 15
Positive—I just saw this movie yesterday. It was incredible. Need I say more? There is absolutely no violence (the film NEVER resorts to violence or gore when referring to slaves), no sex (just a few low-cut dresses for the time), and very little profanity (including several misuses of God’s name, “hell,” 'a--', the n-word). You feel as if you are right there watching Wilberforce try desperately to abolish slavery. It was great to see that he had a relationship with God ('He found me'). I recommend this movie to anybody of about any age (the slavery issue may be troubling to little ones). Go see it!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Josh Kroeger, age 15
Positive—I don’t get why some people are mad about this movie. It was completely awesome and inspiring! What sex was there? A few low cut dresses representing historical accuracy, not just to be sexual. It could be like “The Pirates of the Caribbean” and be overboard, but it isn’t. It feels authentic, and not disgusting. The violence is very minor and brief, and while there is some language, it isn’t overboard, once again. Remember, this isn’t technically a Christian movie, but a movie about William Wilberforce, an awesome Christian man that helped abolish the slave trade in England. I loved it. I went with my family and youth group leaders, and there’s a possibility we’ll watch it in youth group when it comes out.

Just want to clear something up: John Newton wasn’t a Catholic, and neither was Wilberforce. That is a common misconception. They are both in some kind of Protestant denomination, not Catholic. But that’s OK. All in all, go and see this movie. I recommend it to everyone.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Tara Wilson, age 17
Positive—I think that this movie was a wonderful family movie. My mom and I went to go see it and I enjoyed it. There were 2 “h” words and one “a” word and some parents may be offended by the low cut tops William’s wife wears. And the use of the “n” word in the movie, but morally the movie was great!!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—Antonia, age 11
Positive—This movie was GREAT! I watched it with my family in the only theatre that was playing it at the time. My family and I enjoyed very much. Ioan Gruffudd did a amazing job in acting William Wilberforce. I really enjoyed the scene where Thomas Clarkson (Rufus Sewell) is talking to his baby. It is so sweet. At the end of the movie, my eyes were filled with tears, especially at the part where they play “Amazing Grace” with the bagpipes. I realized that William Wilberforces’ perseverance in presenting bill after bill for the abolition of the slave trade, sacrificing twenty years of his life committed to this cause, probably changed the English Empire more than we can understand. We will be watching for the DVD release date on “Amazing Grace”!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Lydia Hughey, age 12
Positive—March 7th (two days after the opening day) my family and I drove to Potamic Mills to see this film. We were not disappointed. The film was nothing short of AMAZING. What was really miraculous about this movie was that the director was an agnostic! It’s amazing what God can do. The only objectionable thing about this otherwise outstanding film is some brief language. The rest of the movie was excellent. I completely recommend this great Christian film.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Joseph, age 13
Positive—…a beautiful Christian movie that all Christians should want to see. What stunned me was that only 4% of Americans knew who William Wilberforce was! I hope that has changed with this movie. The only part I found offensive was the part where the actress who portrays Barbara Spooner was showing some cleavage while talking to Wilberforce. Other than that, the movie is amazing! William Wilberforce understood that God had a plan for him, and he was ever willing to fulfill it though it would take 20 years of hard work and disappointing defeats till the slave trade was abolished. Though, in the movie, he was reluctant to fight the slave trade, he felt it was God’s will. What the movie did not mention, was that later on, in 1833, all the slaves in England were declared free and slavery proclaimed illegal throughout all of Great Britain, 3 days before William Wilberforce died. The amazing theme of this movie had me in tears at the end of this powerful film.…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Lydia Hughey, age 12
Comments
Positive—The film is meant to expose the extremism of Christianity, not to give people ideas about how kids should act. They are exposing the brainwashed youth… The movie is not glorifying Christianity, it is giving a warning about it, just so you know. It’s funny that a Christian would be so blind as to not understand that.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4½
—Tanya George (non-Christian), age 19