How Sweet the Sound
The film Amazing Grace, directed by Michael Apted, is based on the remarkable story of the abolition of the slave trade, and is set in Great Britain in the 18th century. Both political and religious aspects of culture are present heavily throughout the film. The film is based on the true story of William Wilberforce and his fight to end slavery in Great Britain. Wilberforce's life was dedicated to seeing souls be set free and to bringing justice to the oppressed. He was terrorized night after night with dreams and visions of the slave trade, and each dream detailed what slaves were going through daily around the world. At one point, Wilberforce was playing cards with one of the men in the British Parliament, and the man asked for his "nigger" to fetch his carriage. Wilberforce became vehemently angry and raged out of the game, slamming the cards down. The fellow Parliament members said he was acting as if he had never seen slavery before, but he replied, "It is like arseny, each tiny dose doubles the effect." (Wilberforce) At another point in the film, Wilberforce was in a fight in his mind as to whether he should be taking up a religious calling or continue in his political career and see the slave trade abolished. His friend William Pitt brought a group of acclaimed and diverse individuals in order to convince to Wilberforce that he is able to conquer both. This did not entirely "seal the deal" for him. Instead, Wilberforce went to seek advice from John Newton, his former pastor. Newton was a former slave ship owner but was redeemed to a life of freedom. Newton told Wilberforce he must seek to abolish slavery and that parliament needed individuals like him. "Take their dirty ships out of the ocean," Newton told Wilberforce. (Newton) Then Newton's dreams began haunting him again. This time it was in regards to a friend's letter from Jamaica. Wilberforce had nightmares of children being scalded to death by molten lava, and he felt as if he was living inside of the dream. Each time he had a dream, he would wake up in a cold sweat. Aludo Equiano, a former slave, showed Wilberforce a slave ship and explained to him what went on in each part of the ship. "Slavery is a trade which degrades men to the level of brutes," Equiano explained. By now, Wilberforce had taken a petition to parliament each year for what seemed to him an eternity, and each year he became closer to getting it passed. Barbara, whom he met through his aunt and uncle, encouraged him in his pursuit of equality and told him how much she had admired his efforts and how she watched him do good in society. "After night comes day the people are not afraid now that the war on France is being won and when they are not afraid they rediscover their compassion." (Barbara) He later married Barbara and they had children together. John Newton told Wilberforce that he should publish the accounts of his experiences with fighting the slave trade. Newton told Wilberforce that, "I was blind, but now I see," regarding how he had met the Lord. James, a friend of Wilberforce from the Indies, came to share with his supporters pages and pages of first-hand accounts he had collected. James explained to them that the slaves were anxious for freedom and they heard that there was someone coming to save them named Wilberforce. James gave Wilberforce's supports an idea: they would not directly present the bill to parliament, but sneakily go around it. He suggested a more effective way in order to get slavery abolished. The slave ships were sailing with the American flag. He suggested that a bill is passed that all American ships are able to be searched and seized. That same day he went to parliament to make the petition, Wilberforce gave free tickets for a horse race to everyone who opposed his anti-slavery efforts. The petition passed. Soon after its passing, the abolition of the slave trade came to fruition (in the late 1820s). This movie is highly recommendable. It opens your eyes to the reality of slavery, and shows of a hero fighting it. This film shows Wilberforce as a hero. He will forever be remembered for how he took the sighing of the needy and brought freedom to many hearts. Freedom is a sweet sound. The slaves finally became free.