Though figures like Newton provide and indication in the film that there was a connection between the moral disposition of some in the older generations and increasingly more individuals in the younger generations. And ultimately, we are left with the positive indication that it would be the energy, boldness and moral outrage of these younger Britons that would bring about such an important change.
Indeed, the film is perhaps strongest on this point, recognizing that the individual efforts of certain key figures would be tantamount to the will to change England for the better. This is an encouraging story about the personal drive of such figures as Wilberforce and Pitt against seemingly insurmountable institutions and forces. The filmmakers decision therefore to draw the story across twenty years of public service on the part of Wilberforce is an intelligent one. This establishes a film narrative which directly underscores the story told in our text. Here, we recognize that in spite of the efforts of many important figures both from within the African and British communities, “in the end only Parliament could abolish the slave trade.
” (267) to this point, it would require the lifelong efforts of individuals who were truly willing to give over their public and private lives to the cause.
History may largely prove the film accurate in this regard. According to the text, Wilberforce “just lived long enough to see slavery outlawed in the whole British Empire in 1833. This effort would not only change the lives of so many in Britain, but would soon drive the abolitionist movement of the United States with positive example. Though the film does tend to understate the persistence and danger of the obstacles to Wilberforce, it does successfully capture the moment and philosophical.