Seven years late in the viewing, but the richer for it. That would be my one-sentence summary of my reaction-cum-review of this thoughtfully made film on England’s long struggle and saga to abolish the practice of slavery.
I was more intrigued and drawn to the movie for its title and the story behind its composition, in that the slave-trader John Newton who authored that famous hymn was the inspiration to William Wilberforce, England’s Member of Parliament, who took it upon himself to use the power of his office to persuade his colleagues to draft and pass a bill for abolition.
Thoughtfully crafted, this is a period-piece which weaves historical drama, much of it quite dry and yet compelling alongside the personal stories of the key players in the process, played masterfully by all, especially the young Benedict Cumberbatch.
It is note-worthy that England succeeded in passing laws of abolition more than a hundred years before the United States of America did. The story, in terms of content and context was very much in line with the more recent film Lincoln.