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Amazing Grace


  1. Directed by: Sydney Pollack
    Alan Elliott
  2. Produced by:
  3. Written by:
  4. Music by:
  5. Cinematography by:
  6. Editing by: Jeff Buchanan
  7. Release Date: 2019
  8. Running Time: 89
  9. Language: English

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix

This is one of those films that reminds you of the magic and transcendent potential of cinema. Miraculously assembled from decades-old footage thought to be unusable, Amazing Grace is a concert film that puts us right in the pews of a distant place and time (New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, 1972) in a way that feels like time travel. Indeed, with no narration or talking head commentary, it’s a documentary in the truest sense of the word—purely documenting a fleeting, glorious two nights of music from an iconic Gospel singer, Aretha Franklin, in her prime. Originally directed by Sydney Pollack and brought to new life by producer Alan Elliott, the film is essentially a 90-minute worship concert. As she sings hymns and spirituals like “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and “Never Grow Old,” Franklin—and the Southern California Community Choir that backs her—draws from a deep well of spiritual longing. A black woman singing in Watts at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Franklin’s worship carries layers of meaning. Perhaps the most goosebumps-inducing moment is when she sings the title track, pausing to linger on the third verse of John Newton’s hymn: “Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come…” Franklin’s slow, emotional, improvisational delivery of these words invokes centuries of black struggle. She appropriately draws out that tension, working up the crowd to a transcendent climax of anguish and ecstasy, before resolving to the glorious hope of the next line: “It was grace that brought me safe thus far ... And grace that will lead me right on home.”

-- Brett McCracken


  1. Directed by: Sydney Pollack
    Alan Elliott
  2. Produced by:
  3. Written by:
  4. Music by:
  5. Cinematography by:
  6. Editing by: Jeff Buchanan
  7. Release Date: 2019
  8. Running Time: 89
  9. Language: English

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix

This is one of those films that reminds you of the magic and transcendent potential of cinema. Miraculously assembled from decades-old footage thought to be unusable, Amazing Grace is a concert film that puts us right in the pews of a distant place and time (New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, 1972) in a way that feels like time travel. Indeed, with no narration or talking head commentary, it’s a documentary in the truest sense of the word—purely documenting a fleeting, glorious two nights of music from an iconic Gospel singer, Aretha Franklin, in her prime. Originally directed by Sydney Pollack and brought to new life by producer Alan Elliott, the film is essentially a 90-minute worship concert. As she sings hymns and spirituals like “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and “Never Grow Old,” Franklin—and the Southern California Community Choir that backs her—draws from a deep well of spiritual longing. A black woman singing in Watts at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Franklin’s worship carries layers of meaning. Perhaps the most goosebumps-inducing moment is when she sings the title track, pausing to linger on the third verse of John Newton’s hymn: “Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come…” Franklin’s slow, emotional, improvisational delivery of these words invokes centuries of black struggle. She appropriately draws out that tension, working up the crowd to a transcendent climax of anguish and ecstasy, before resolving to the glorious hope of the next line: “It was grace that brought me safe thus far ... And grace that will lead me right on home.”

-- Brett McCracken

This is one of those films that reminds you of the magic and transcendent potential of cinema. Miraculously assembled from decades-old footage thought to be unusable, Amazing Grace is a concert film that puts us right in the pews of a distant place and time (New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, 1972) in a way that feels like time travel. Indeed, with no narration or talking head commentary, it’s a documentary in the truest sense of the word—purely documenting a fleeting, glorious two nights of music from an iconic Gospel singer, Aretha Franklin, in her prime. Originally directed by Sydney Pollack and brought to new life by producer Alan Elliott, the film is essentially a 90-minute worship concert. As she sings hymns and spirituals like “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and “Never Grow Old,” Franklin—and the Southern California Community Choir that backs her—draws from a deep well of spiritual longing. A black woman singing in Watts at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Franklin’s worship carries layers of meaning. Perhaps the most goosebumps-inducing moment is when she sings the title track, pausing to linger on the third verse of John Newton’s hymn: “Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come…” Franklin’s slow, emotional, improvisational delivery of these words invokes centuries of black struggle. She appropriately draws out that tension, working up the crowd to a transcendent climax of anguish and ecstasy, before resolving to the glorious hope of the next line: “It was grace that brought me safe thus far ... And grace that will lead me right on home.”

-- Brett McCracken


  1. Directed by: Sydney Pollack
    Alan Elliott
  2. Produced by:
  3. Written by:
  4. Music by:
  5. Cinematography by:
  6. Editing by: Jeff Buchanan
  7. Release Date: 2019
  8. Running Time: 89
  9. Language: English

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix
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