Big 50 – Volume 4: My Favourite Movie

Just like my favourite book, my favourite movie changed in the past few years.  Until about 4 years ago, my favourite movie was The Color Purple.  I have loved that movie for so long, cried, laughed, sung, cried some more over it for so many years it was part of who I am.  The entire cast are bloody amazing, it’s a story that touches me deeply (I have some parallels with the abuse side of the story) and Steven Spielberg creates such visually stunning films that every frame is beautiful.

But then a few years back I went to the movies with my friend Trish, and we chose to see a film simply because it had Ioan Gruffudd in it.  You know, cos he’s yummy and all.  That film was Amazing Grace.  I don’t think a film has ever moved me, or made me think as much as this one did.  It is the story of William Wilberforce, the young British politician who led the movement to abolish slavery in the British Empire.  He was a deeply spiritual Christian man who campaigned for social justice of many forms, and founded the SPCA (Society for the Provention of Cruelty to Animals).  William actually wanted to join the church, but realised he could do far more good with a position in parliament (he was good friends with William Pitt the younger, who became Prime Minister of Britain) than he could as a man of the cloth.

As well as Iaon Gruffudd, who is a wonderful actor as well as being dishy, it stars the talented and luminously beautiful Romola Garai as the woman he went on to marry, Barbara Spooner (an activist herself), Benedict Cumberbatch as William Pitt, Rufus Sewell, Youssou N’Dour, Ciaran Hinds, Michael Gambon and the magnificent Albert Finney as John Newton, who has scenes that still reduce me to tears on thinking about them.

It was this film that spurred me on to explore activism and social justice myself.  It spoke to my faith, particularly as I was feeling that it was nigh on impossible for me to be a social justice activist in the face of the assumptions of others that my Christianity was in direct conflict with social justice.  William Wilberforce was a perfect example of the fact that this is simply not true.

There is a scene where Wilberforce talks to his butler about finding his faith, and it spoke to me so deeply, because I remember finding mine and feeling exactly the same way.  Nobody had ever put into words that feeling, so it was a big moment for me to see this in the film.

Amazing Grace was released on DVD in the us on the 19th of November 2007, I remember this because I was there (in Wisconsin at the time) and I went out on that day and bought a copy.

What is your favourite movie, and why is it your favourite?

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November 2, 2010. Amazing Grace, Big 50, movies, The Colour Purple.

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