This biopic is the inspiring story of how one man's passion and perseverance changed the world. Based on the true life story of William Wilberforce, a leader of the British abolition movement, the film chronicles his epic struggle to pass a law to end the slave trade in the late 18th century.
Ioan Gruffudd plays a dynamic William Wilberforce, who was born to a prosperous family. Following the death of his father, he became a wealthy young man. His wealth allowed him to fund many charitable projects. He became a member of Parliament and an Evangelical Christian and wrestled with his conscience to pursue humanitarian interests.
But his younger close friend William Pitt (Benedict Cumberbatch), the youngest-ever Prime Minister, suggested that he use his political power to push his policies to the government. These two idealistic young men embraced the opposition's fight. Wilberforce seeks the advice of friend and mentor John Newton (Albert Finney), a former slave trader who wrote the song "Amazing Grace" and who turned to the Church in order to atone for his earlier life. Albert Finney is magnificient as the wise old man steering these younger men in their careers.
The terrific emsemble cast also stars Romola Garai as Barbara Spooner, the beautiful and headstrong young woman who shares Wilberforce's passion for reform and becomes his wife. Michael Gambon is Lord Fix, a member of Parliament who joines Wilberforce's group. Rufus Sewell plays Thomas Clarkson, another ally in the reform, and Grammy winning Senegalese singer Yousou N'Dour is Olaudah Equiano, an African sent as a slave to the Colonies who bought his freedom and made his home in London where he became a leading figure in the fight to end the slavery of his fellow countrymen.
Aside from a noteworthy script that tells a meaningful story with exceptional acting by all, this film gives a good account of historical facts surrounding horror of the slave trade. This is a must-see film.
Directed by: Michael Apted
Run time: 1 hr. 51 mins.
Release date: February 23, 2007
Genre: Drama, Thriller and Politics/Religion
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
MPAA Rating: PG