Truly Amazing Grace
Starring: Gary Sinise, Mare Winningham,
Angelina Jolie, Joe Don Baker,
Terry Kinney, and Clarence
Runtime: 185 minutes
Distributor: HBO/Time Warner
Director: John Frankenheimer
Executive Producer: Mark Carliner
Producer: John Frankenheimer and Julian
Writer: Paul Monash and Marshall Frady
Address Comments To:Jeffrey Bewkes, CEO, Time Warner
Bill Nelson, Chairman/CEO, HBO
Collin Callender, President, HBO Films
2500 Broadway, Suite 400
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 382-3000
The television movie opens in 1972 with George Wallace being ravaged sexually by his second wife Camilla. He breaks it off so he can go to a political affair.
Then, there’s a flashback to Wallace attending the Alabama inauguration of Governor Jim Folsom in 1955. Folsom’s niece is the little girl who becomes Wallace’s second wife after his first wife Elena dies. Folsom is a Bible believing man of the people. He tells Wallace that Wallace will succeed him, but Wallace loses the election because his opponent plays the race card. The KKK tells Wallace that, if he wants to get elected, he has to defend the whites.
Wallace abandons Folsom’s populist politics and interestingly enough adopts the socialist perspective that Folsom abhors. The fact that Wallace’s racism is associated with socialism, and Folsom’s populism is associated with Christian faith is an incredible insight and totally accurate from a historical perspective.
The movie cuts back and forth between Wallace running for the presidency, the beginning of Wallace’s career, his confrontations with federal authorities as governor, and his life after being shot five times by an angry member of the crowd in 1972.
John Frankenheimer actually makes this complex plot structure work very well. The movie is also clear that Bobby Kennedy’s imposition of federal government control is not the answer to Alabama’s problems, including racism. During his racist period, Wallace seems totally blind to the pain and suffering he’s causing. Symbolizing this blindness is the black prisoner assigned to take care of the governor, named Archie. At one point, Archie even wants to kill Wallace.
When Wallace finally decides to go to Martin Luther King’s Dexter Avenue Church to repent, confess and accept Christ, it is an incredibly powerful conversion.
Gary Sinise as Wallace does a tremendous job. The production values are excellent. It is unfortunate there is too much foul language to recommend to teenagers and younger audiences, who would benefit from its Christian perspective.
GEORGE WALLACE is an unforgettable, ultimately inspiring movie. Director John Frankenheimer actually makes the movie’s complex plot structure work very well. Gary Sinise as Wallace does a tremendous job. During his racist period, Wallace seems totally blind to the pain and suffering he’s causing. Symbolizing this blindness is the black prisoner assigned to take care of the governor, named Archie. It all ends, however, in an incredibly powerful conversion set in Martin Luther King’s Dexter Avenue Church, the heart of the Civil Rights Movement. Sadly, there is much foul language and two sex scenes, so this is not a movie for younger viewers.