Amazing Grace — a few more quotes

Amazing Grace opens in Canada tomorrow, so today the Globe and Mail ran an interview with director Michael Apted:

Slim and handsome at 66, Apted is testy about many things, in a game and charming way. He doesn’t like Toronto’s weather. Born in working-class London, he long ago abandoned the cold for California, where he currently heads the Directors Guild of America. In his DGA role, he’s annoyed by runaway Canadian film productions. He’s even more annoyed by U.S. and British politics. And political apathy.

In fact, his belief that “politics do matter” was one of his motives for doing the Wilberforce film: “It’s something I’ve wanted to do a film about for years. In my own tiny way, I wanted to restore some dignity, some understanding of the political process,” he says.

When the Amazing Grace project first came to him, it was a simple biopic. He had it refashioned into an account of alliances, determination and moral charisma. In reality, the small, slender, soft-spoken Wilberforce was nothing like the tall and glorious Ioan Gruffudd, who plays him in the film. “Why make him handsome and heroic? It is always the issue when you spend $30-million on a film,” Apted explains crossly. “Besides, I wanted the heroic side of politics.” . . .

Many of those great reformers were Christians. “What I find so nauseating is people today don’t try to negotiate between the religious and the secular,” says Apted. “Wilberforce knew that you could not get anywhere unless you got down off your moral high horse.” Living in America, Apted resists the religious tide. But his brother back in England, a policeman for 30 years, is now a priest and, says Apted, is “dying to see the film.”

I wonder how Apted squares the idea that Wilberforce “got down off [his] moral high horse” with Wilberforce’s campaigns for “the Reformation of Manners” and “the Suppression of Vice and Encouragement of Religion”, which the film acknowledges only in passing, if that. And I don’t say that to be snarky, or because I think it is impossible to square those things; I am genuinely curious as to how Apted fits those things together.

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  • maybe Apted thinks that practicing Christianity in politics is and has always been solely about “family values.” y’know, defamation of all gays and sodomists and the like.

    then again, i haven’t seen Amazing Grace yet.

  • David

    Christians in politics is merely about family values. It is about justice, the word ‘righteous’ comes from the word right. To do what is right, to give up your power for another to have freedom, ‘rights’ are something the powerful give rather than the poor or oppressed take. If parents do not allow their children to study then they do not have the ‘right’ to study, whatever the declaration of human rights says. If a woman has a ‘right’ to vote yet her responsibilites do not give her freedom to get to the poles then where is the meaning in that? If, people go on holiday in countries like Cambodia and play around with the beer-girls and sex industry workers who are bound to their pimp, then they are the users. Do they honestly think these girls like them or that these girls/women are working to give their owner a good profit at the end of the day.

    It is about empowerment, are you willing to pay a higher price for a product and give the person who makes it in developing country the ‘right’ to a liveable wage?

    Yes, Christians should be in politics… Slavery still exists today. 200 years later the oppressors are the same peoples from the same nations. Christians and non-Christians alike in Europe and America demand their ‘rights’ whilst those in the majority world pray on their knees and ask them to be ‘rightoeous’.

    What part will you play in ending slavery and oppression… I don’t care what your sexual habits are that is your choice. But when your choices impact another, whether you directly bind them into slavery, or you drink the coffee that ‘slave’ made then I have a few words about your rightness before that ‘slave’ and I am sure God will have a few words about your rightness before Him.

  • I was looking for a particular quote within the movie itself. Wilberforce’s cook quoted a man by the name of Francis Bedham/ Bridgham or something like that. Can you help me with his name?

  • Anonymous