For the movie, Wilberforce is played by Ioan Gruffudd. Don’t recognize that name? He’s Mr. Fantastic in those (Not-so) Fantastic Four movies. It’s good to see him in a different role, but I had a hard time believing he couldn’t stretch his arm across the House of Commons to slap his opposition.
The biggest problem with the movie is the title. William Wilberforce did not pen “Amazing Grace.” Former slave ship captain, John Newton did. Newton is in the movie, but the song seems largely out of place. When Mr. Fantastic starts singing it in a pub (in a wrong tempo) and the drunken patrons start weeping into their ales, it’s hard to not laugh at the absurdity. Then, when he sings it at his wedding, you have to watch that your eyes don’t roll out of their sockets.
A better title would have been Wilber Force. After receiving his mission from God, Ioan Gruffudd could have gone on a quest to get his anti-slavery band back together. With a visit to the Quarry Man, the Smelter, and Jessica Alba, you’ve got the makings of a great movie.
Overall, I just wasn’t in the mood for this movie. It’s been getting fantastic reviews (har har) by critics, so I may have to give it another chance later.