Saturday, March 10, 2007

AMAZING GRACE and 300 Bring History to Life

Yesterday I had the good fortune to see two fine movies about what it means to be a hero. In the stylized and violent 300, King Leonidas represents the physical bravery of warriors in combat, while the Masterpiece Theater-like presentation of AMAZING GRACE extols the courage of William Wilberforce, an English man of peace who fought relentlessly in the House of Commons to end the slave trade. Different times and places (fifth century B.C. Greece and eighteenth century Britain), but both of these men struggled against all odds for what they knew was right.

Impressive performances by Gerard Butler as Leonidas and Ioan Gruffudd as Wilberforce add to the watchability of these movies. Butler projects muscle-bound strength to the max as Leonidas leads his army of 300 to meet the much larger invading Persian forces at the Battle of Thermopylae; Gruffudd endows his character with intelligence and passion for his seemingly lost cause and manages to make us love Wilberforce as well as admire him.

Yes, indeed. Things are looking up at the multiplex.

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