Some idealists go into the life of a politician with the intention to do good. Incredibly rare are those who stay the course and succeed but such a one was William Wilberforce who lead the fight against the slave trade for 26 years. Those eventful years of this British MP’s life are the focus of this incredible film directed by Michael Apted and written by Steven Knight. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006 but the theatre release wasn’t until February 23, 2007, two hundred years from the day of the famous House of Commons vote to ban slave trade (but not slavery) in the British Commonwealth.
The movie was skilfully and lovingly made using a British cast of very talented actors and shot in England. But it’s the story of this remarkable and controversial man that truly enthrals an audience. Wilberforce did more than concentrate on a single cause, he also fought for other types of reform (including Prison reform) and animal rights.
The title comes from the name of the song which was based on a poem and, before that, a sermon by John Newton a former naval man who worked in the slave trade for years. Wilberforce sought guidance from Newton during his abolitionist campaign.
Very highly recommended.
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