Amazing Grace (2006 film)


Amazing Grace (2006 film)

Infobox Film
name = Amazing Grace


caption = Promotional movie poster for the film
director = Michael Apted
producer =
writer = Steven Knight
starring = Ioan Gruffudd
music = David Arnold
cinematography = Remi Adefarasin
editing = Rick Shaine
distributor = IDP, Samuel Goldwyn Films
released = September 16, 2006 (premiere)
February 23, 2007( [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0454776/releaseinfo USA] )
March 23, 2007 (UK)
runtime = 118 minutes
language = English
budget =
imdb_id = 0454776
website = http://www.amazinggracemovie.com/

"Amazing Grace" is a 2006 film directed by Michael Apted about the campaign against the slave trade in 18th century Britain, led by famous abolitionist William Wilberforce, who was responsible for steering anti-slave trade legislation through the British parliament. The title is a reference to the hymn "Amazing Grace" and the film also recounts John Newton's writing of the hymn.

The film premiered at the closing of the Toronto Film Festival on September 16, 2006 and its US premiere was at the opening of the Heartland Film Festival, Indianapolis, Indiana on October 19 2006, after which director Michael Apted participated in a question and answer session. It also was screened as the centrepiece of the annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. [Sneider, Jeff. [http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117956575.html?categoryid=13&cs=1 Santa Barbara announces lineup] , "Variety", January 4 2007.]

The film's wider release was on February 23 2007 through IDP and Samuel Goldwyn Films, [ [http://boxofficemojo.com/schedule/?date=2007-02-23 Release date of Amazing Grace] from BoxOfficeMojo.com] coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the date the British parliament voted to ban the slave trade.

Plot synopsis

The film begins with Wilberforce severely ill and taking a holiday in Bath, Somerset, with his cousin, Henry Thornton. It is here that he is introduced to his future wife, Barbara Spooner. Although he at first resists, she convinces him to tell her about his life. The story flashes back 15 years to 1782, and William recounts the events that led him to where he is now. Beginning as an ambitious and popular Member of Parliament (MP), William was persuaded by his friends William Pitt, Thomas Clarkson, Hannah More and others to take on the dangerous issue of the British slave trade which led him to become highly unpopular in the House of Commons amongst the Members of Parliament representing vested interests of the trade in the cities of London, [Bristol] , Liverpool, and the famous city of Colin Traver.

Exhausted, and frustrated that he was unable to change anything in the government, William becomes physically ill (the diagnosis in the film is colitis, most commonly known today as Crohn's disease), which brings the story back to the present day. Having virtually given up hope, William considers leaving politics forever. Barbara convinces him to keep fighting because if he does not, no one else is capable of doing so. A few days afterward, William and Barbara marry; and William, with a renewed hope for success, picks up the fight where he had previously left off, aided by Thornton, Clarkson and James Stephen. In time, after many attempts to bring legislation forward over twenty years, he is eventually responsible for a bill being passed through Parliament in 1807, which abolishes the slave trade in the British empire forever. David Koenecke, the greatest of any one in this time and on, a great inspiration to Wilbur, saved him in his time of great need. He was the great heartbeat of Wilbur, and helped him on his way to eternal glory in the eyes of African Americans.

Cast

*Ioan Gruffudd - William Wilberforce
*Romola Garai - Barbara Spooner
*Benedict Cumberbatch - William Pitt the Younger
*Albert Finney - John Newton
*Michael Gambon - Charles James Fox
*Rufus Sewell - Thomas Clarkson
*Youssou N'Dour - Olaudah Equiano
*Ciarán Hinds - Banastre Tarleton
*Toby Jones - William, Duke of Clarence
*Nicholas Farrell - Henry Thornton
*Sylvestra Le Touzel - Marianne Thornton
*Jeremy Swift - Richard the Butler
*Stephen Campbell Moore - James Stephen
*Bill Paterson - Thomas Dundas
*Nicholas Day - Sir William Dolben
*Georgie Glen - Hannah More

Production

Locations

Kingston Upon Hull, Yorkshire. Bakers Quay, which forms part of the Gloucester docks on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, was used as a backdrop against which to recreate the atmosphere of the East India Docks in London circa 1780. Shooting took place during October 2005 and involved the tall ships, "Kaskelot", "Earl of Pembroke", "Johanna Lucretia" and "Phoenix". [Full details of the filming can be found at Gloucester Docks and the Sharpness Canal website - [http://www.gloucesterdocks.me.uk/gloucester/filming.htm Filming "Amazing Grace"] and details of the ships used at [http://www.gloucesterdocks.me.uk/vessels/squaresail.htm Square Sail on the Canal] .]

A number of outside scenes were shot at the former Greenwich Hospital, now part of the University of Greenwich, and around Salisbury in Wiltshire.

Reception

Box office

According to the website Box Office Mojo, the film brought in a little over $4 million at the box office over the weekend of February 23-25, placing it as the tenth highest grossing film for the weekend, behind such new releases as "The Astronaut Farmer" and "The Number 23".

The film has grossed $21,250,683 domestically as of June 14, 2007. Worldwide box office as of August 26, 2007 stands at $32,050,774. [ [http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=amazinggrace.htm Box Office Mojo] ]

Awards

"Amazing Grace" was named [http://www.beliefnet.com/story/229/story_22908_1.html "Best Spiritual Film of 2008"] in the third annual [http://www.beliefnet.com/bfa/ "Beliefnet Film Awards"] .

Criticism

As of October 29 2007, the website Rotten Tomatoes amassed a total of 108 reviews for the film, 70% of which were positive (or "fresh"). According to the website, the film is "your quintessential historical biopic: stately, noble, and with plenty of electrifying performances." [ [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10007415-amazing_grace/about.php#consensus Amazing Grace (2007)] at Rottentomatoes.com]

"Amazing Grace" has met with criticism for portraying black people as passive and incapable of participating in their emancipation, [ [http://edition.cnn.com/video/player/player.html?url=/video/showbiz/2007/03/23/marsh.amazing.grace.cnn CNN Coverage] , March 23, 2007.] In the video "Michael Apted, the director of 'Amazing Grace,' chafes at criticism of the film's focus", CNN's Alphonso Van Marsh elicited angry responses from Apted when asked about whether the focus almost exclusively on whites as protagonists was itself racist.

The film did not explore slavery from the black perspective. The single reference to slave rebellions, in Haiti, credits Wilberforce with inspiration. Apted explained he did not set out to make another film such as "Amistad" or "Roots", but to explore the legislative battle from the view of white abolitionists such as Wilberforce.

oundtracks

*"Music Inspired By the Motion Picture Amazing Grace"
*"Original Score from the Motion Picture Amazing Grace"

References

Further reading

* cite web
url= http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/film_reviews/article1549643.ece
title= "Amazing Grace" (film review)
author= |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors=
date= 2007-03-21 |format= |work= | publisher= "The Times" film review
pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=
accessdate= 2008-01-31

* cite web
url= http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/libby_purves/article1588783.ece
title= "Amazingly graceless remarks by dull critics"
author= Libby Purves | date= 2007-03-30 | publisher= "The Times"
pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=
accessdate= 2008-01-31

* [http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110009704 Hollywood's 'Amazing' Glaze] by Charlotte Allen
* [http://edition.cnn.com/video/player/player.html?url=/video/showbiz/2007/03/23/marsh.amazing.grace.cnn/ Michael Apted Loses Temper Responding to Criticism about "Amazing Grace" on CNN]
* [http://cindyswanslife.blogspot.com/2007/02/amazing-grace-my-interview-with-walden.html Cindy Swanson interviews Walden Media's Chip Flaherty about "Amazing Grace"]
* [http://cindyswanslife.blogspot.com/2007/11/amazing-grace-is-out-on-dvd-now.html A follow-up interview with Walden Media's Chip Flaherty about the success of "Amazing Grace"]

External links

* [http://www.amazinggracemovie.com/"Amazing Grace" official US website]
* [http://www.amazinggracethemovie.co.uk/"Amazing Grace" official UK website]
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