Saturday, February 24, 2007

Amazing Grace - go see it!

Friday, four of us attended the opening show of Amazing Grace, even though we had to make a bit of a drive to get to a theater showing it. The acting was well done, as was the movie itself. The movie follows the attempts of William Wilberforce to end the slave trade in England via debates and bills in the House of Commons. He also worked to end slavery, but only his work towards ending the slave trade was included. The story is very well presented, and keeps the viewer interested. I never once thought they should "get on with it," which is quite impressive for me.

Two of the people in our group are historians, and so I asked them about the historical accuracy of the movie overall. Surprisingly it is quite accurate, and even gives a nod to the debates that are still occurring about the accuracy of some conjectures made in that time period. For instance, the former slave Oloudaqh Equiano that assists Wilberforce claims to have been a prince in Africa, but many historians believe that he was actually born in South Carolina. In the movie he makes this claim, but some of Wilberforce's adversaries spread rumors that he was actually born in South Carolina. Some events that seemed like they must be fictitious were also accurate, such as how certain votes occurred and how Wilberforce suffered physically.

It was also interesting to find out that the biography Equiano wrote was the best selling biography until Benjamin Franklin's biography was printed. Another tidbit was that when many people stopped putting sugar in their coffee to protest slavery it was actually a sacrifice, as coffee was usually brewed at the beginning of the week and then re-boiled throughout the week so that by the middle of the week it was quite syrupy. Usually sugar was the only way to make it taste even vaguely appetizing.

Whether or not you enjoy history, you should see Amazing Grace for the interesting story, great acting, and original characters.

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