I completely forgot to tell y'all that I saw Amazing Grace this weekend. It was, without hesitation, one of the best movies I have ever seen.
First of all, let's just completely ignore the 18th-centuryness of it for a minute (but I will get to that, don't you worry!), so I can actually tell you about the movie itself.
1) The acting. It is phenomenal. And I mean that every. single. character
. does an amazing, fabulous job. Ioan Gryffud (which, oh my god, I think I am utterly in love. don't tell pete) was mesmerizing and deserves to become much for famous than he is. But you know how most movies will have one or two stellar actors and the rest just fade off in the background? Not this one. The supporting cast is just breathtaking. Albert Finney, as always, was glorious, but I was especially surprised by the guy who played William Pitt, the Younger ( Benedict Cumberbatch
). Y'all keep an eye on him, he will be a force in the acting world.
2) The story. Compelling, heartbreaking, and so involving. I think it is pretty safe to say that we, as a people, are pretty much in agreement that slavery was bad. Terrible. The most horrible thing you can imagine happening to a human being. But it really puts you in a world where slavery was accepted, and common, and hardly anyone fought against it as a crime against humanity. And even though you know how it ends, and that slavery is eventually abolished, it is so heartbreakingly frustrating to have to watch people fight and fail and fight again to have it ended. Granted, the slave trade is one of my favorite topics to study in history, but I was engrossed
by the content of this movie.
Now the historicalness:
PERFECT. Well, almost. The one issue that I have is that when it opens, and during parts of the movie, it is set in 1797, but most of the womens clothes are markedly 1785ish. Mind you, they are excellent
1785ish, but a little out of date none the less. That said, almost everything else is spot on. Keep in mind, this is mostly a movie involving men and they are the primary characters, so don't expect Marie Antoinette fashion porn, but the costumes a so well done. Understated, yes, but beautiful.
The other thing that I couldn't get over: the hair. The wigs! The hairstyles! Best I've ever seen. Across the board, the hair looks spectacular. I know that seems really insignificant, but I find nothing pulls me out of historical "mood" quite like bad wigs. They just ruin everything for me. And what I kept noticing, and loving, was that when the men took off their wigs, like when they were sitting around playing cards and such, they had little powder shadows where their wigs met their forehead. You could actually see the lines where they had their wigs powdered! There was a very careful makeup artist here.
And speaking of makeup! I was sorta nervous about this movie because it spans a long time, historically- from the 1770s into the early 1800s. I knew they weren't using different actors, which means they were aging some of these people 30 years and more. You know how that goes sometimes, with just unbelievably bad aging that always detracts from the movie (for me), but it was very well done. And we are talking thisclose shots of characters and their age looks so real. Nice touch.
Finally, they just do such an amazing job of creating the world of london in the late 18th-century. You get glimpses into kitchens and alleys and gardens. You go on ships and travel in carriages and meet beggars. It's just so real. You are literally lost in the era. I've never seen a movie that so accurately and carefully examines so many
different aspects of life in this time.
Y'all need to go see it right now. I mean it! Right! Now!