To begin with, Amazing Grace is my favorite hymn; and while I must admit I know little of William Wilberforce’s history, I have heard/read some on John Newton. On Saturday some friends and I drove out to the theater and watched the newly released movie Amazing Grace.

There were many aspects of the film that I enjoyed, such as Wilberforce’s passion to abolish slavery. I was even pleasantly surprised by the obvious Christian overtones found within the script, and that you knew beyond a doubt that William Wilberforce was indeed a believer in Christ. My favorite part though was definitely the ending where they played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes in front of Westminster Abby (one of the best arrangements of Amazing Grace I’ve ever heard); that scene alone was enough to place it on my must own list.

However, there was an aspect of history which I felt was overlooked. While much of William Wilberforce’s evangelical endeavors were unmentioned, this aspect didn’t bother me too much and in all honestly it was expected. My biggest problem with Amazing Grace is that John Newton’s efforts to abolish slavery were barely even mentioned. Honestly if a movie is titled after one of the most well known hymns in history why was the back story (which I must add directly pertains to the subject matter of the movie) glossed over!? That story is all about God’s grace to a slave trader who went on and preached against slavery. While I understand the movie was about William Wilberforce, it would have been great to have a better understanding of the hymn that touched his heart.

In closing, even with what I addressed above, I highly recommend everyone to go see Amazing Grace. As stated above, this one has already been placed on my must own list.

Addendum 3/7/07: For an excellent read on the interrelationship between John Newton and William Wilberforce check out the short book, Finding God in the Story of Amazing Grace by Kurt Bruner & Jim Ware.