Of course, as good as the movie Amazing Grace is (and I still need to write my own complete review), I’m sure we can all think of ways that it could have been even better. There could have been a more exact representation of the content of his Christian faith. (One Christian blogger wondered about a faith that seems only to have consisted of wanting to lay in wet grass and look at spiderwebs.)
An excellent article appeared in my Gmail inbox. My link was to website VirtueOnline, “The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism,” but the article, “Hollywood’s ‘Amazing’ Glaze” comes from the Wall Street Journal’s website OpinionJournal. Charlotte Allen sums up, better than most, the deficiencies of the movie’s representation of Wilberforce’s faith. I urge you to read it here. When Christian and political leaders in the USA are falling all over themselves to recommend the movie (and I agree with them), we need to realize that this is just a movie after all, and it is no substitute for the robust and challenging content of the actual faith that Wilberforce believed.
Perhaps the best rebuke to some of the Wilberforce mania is the actual full title of Wilberforce’s one book of theology. Meditate deeply on this title and apply it to our American scene: A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes of Society, Contrasted With Real Christianity.
In other news, this article contains an interview with Michael Apted, and shows some of his own (secular) motivations for making the movie the way he did.
And this article contains an account of a preview showing of the movie in Wilberforce’s hometown, Hull.