Amazing Grace

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 29, 2015

I love this movie. It’s utterly clear, utterly convicted, unashamedly didactic, enormously stirring. Moral codes are steadfastly presented and defended, but complexity and contradiction (the Bill Paterson character, the fitful, fickle public) are respected as well. This is not mere zealotry. Humour (Sewell) helps too, but finally, more than anything, Amazing Grace believes deeply, maintains that belief steadfastly, and states it all very beautifully.

This is important: I would unequivocally characterize this as a righteous film. But righteousness, which is to say a balanced combination of circumspection and charity, is not enough. Film history is full of the well-meaning and ill-executed bearing of testimony. True believers often bemoan what follows, which is that the world not only doesn’t change for the better as a result of this or that bit of cinematic earnestness. It doesn’t even take notice.

Well, in film and elsewhere it’s not enough to do good. You have to do it well too. As in this film. So moving, over and over again! Watch the set, watch the whole movie make way for Michael Gambon’s stirring communication, there at the very end. “…the slave trade is no more.” They’re not going to bring in the bagpipes, are they? They are! And once again they totally, utterly pull it off. Bravo! I love this movie