Amazing Grace is actually the title of a famous song written by British Evangelist John Newton circa 1772. It’s such a soulful song that you can shed your tears just listening to it. And it was more moving because
John Newton (played by Albert Finney in Amazing Grace) wrote the words to one of the most beloved hymns of all time between 1760 and 1770, while working as an evangelical pastor. Son of the commander of a merchant ship,
Repenting and regretting the misery he had inflicted on the thousands of human cargo he had transported across the Middle Passage for many years, he devoted his life to the Church, and wrote the lyrics to many hymns which are still popular today.
Thank God that Newton still lived to see the efforts to abolish the slave trade in England finally produced the 1807 Slave Trade Act on 25 March 1807, after twenty years of struggles. I am sure he died peacefully.
The movie Amazing Grace focuses on the efforts of one of John Newton’s friends, i.e. William Wilberforce. Played exquisitely by Ioan Gruffudd, Wilberforce was indeed the symbol of freedom and liberty in
The movie had many excellent actors/actresses, e.g. Albert Finney as John Newton, Youssou N'Dour as Olaudah Equiano, Michael Gambon (Dumbledore in Harry Potter series) as Lord Charles Fox, Benedict Cumberbath (Stephen Hawking in Hawking, Patrick Watts in Starter for Ten) as Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger (the William Pitt as Emol.org said), Rufus Sewell as Thomas Clarkson, and the 1995 Persuasion’s Ciaran Hinds as the pro-slavery Sir Banastre Tarleton.
The beautiful Romola Garai (Vanity Fair, Inside I’m Dancing, Atonement) played as Barbara Ann Spooner, Wilberforce’s wife; a lovely smart young lady, about the same age as Jane Austen, but with much more money – no offense. It is interesting to note that William Wilberforce and Barbara were married in Bath on May 30th, 1797, only a fortnight after their first meeting (I should really visit Bath, eh?). Having scouring down many Austen facts these few months, I have learned that Jane Austen visited
The movie has such a profound effect on me; I’ve decided to watch it for the second time, this time dragging my female friends (they were a bit afraid the movie would be gruesome). I regret to report that the major cinema in my city fails to screen this amazing movie. Instead, they focus on more mundane movies that I would rather not elaborate; movies that do not inspire you to do things for greater good.
Here’s the powerful lyric of Amazing Grace (listen with a capella or bagpipe and let the tears fall down…)
Amazing Grace (How sweet the sound)
That sav'd a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ'd!
Thro' many dangers, toils and snare,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall profess, within the vail,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be for ever mine.
Pic 1: movie poster of Amazing Grace
Pic 2: the real William Wilberforce, from Wikipedia
Pic 3: Ioan Gruffudd as Wilberforce during a rough Parliamentary hearing, from Hollywood Jesus
Pic 4: Wilberforce (Gruffudd) and Barbara (Romola Garai), from emol.com
Pic 5: Wilberforce contemplating, from Amazing Grace