Freedom-A Movie Review
Released in theaters June 5, 2015
Released in theaters June 5, 2015 and on DVD in July 2015. Freedom is directed by Peter Cousens and written by Timothy A. Chey. This movie is rated R because it contains some violence which may not be appropriate for young or sensitive viewers.
Freedom tells the tale of how slavery came to the new world. Two men separated by 100 years share common grounds and both play an enormous part in the search for freedom. It begins on a plantation in 1856, Virginia. This movie is based on a true story of how the Underground Railroad freed the slaves. A man, Samuel Woodward (Cuba Gooding Jr.) escapes the torment of a harsh life and leads his aging mother (Phyllis Bash), his wife (Sharon Leal) and his young son on a journey north to Canada.
Interesting True Story
History buffs will see more than just a movie about the Underground Railroad. They will find more than one true story intertwined throughout the whole drama. John Newton (Bernhard Forcher) brings a ship full of slaves to America despite his own beliefs. He taught a young boy a song he wrote (Amazing Grace). He nursed this boy back to health as they came across the mighty ocean. Newton becomes very fond him. Newton gives the boy his Bible just before the boy is sold to the highest bidder. This boy is Samuel Woodward’s grandfather and Samuel’s mother carries this story and the Bible with her straight through to her last days. Sadly his mother doesn’t make it the duration of the long journey.
Despite the interesting story line and despite the many talented people among the cast, this presentation needs some highlights not displayed. If it weren’t for the short spurts of violence it enhances about slavery in this film and its attempts to make it a musical by putting in some “Swing Low Miss Chariot” into a mix of other well known gospel hymns as well as Newton's Amazing Grace, it could have ended up a documentary very easily. Perhaps this would have made a good classroom film. But the R rating rules out any chance for that. If dull, dry, or whatever the word is to use for a less than exciting display of storytelling then this is it. Of course, that's just my opinion. See for yourself.
You may discover something new.
Freedom is however a film that keeps you watching just to see if any of the story is familiar to you. Far from the history class I attended I couldn’t remember ever hearing about any of it. I never knew that John Newton, writer of Amazing Grace was captain to a slave ship or that later in life he played a big part in freeing the very slaves he brought here. So it is worth watching. Just please don’t be disappointed by slow drama.