Chris Hewitt, film critic for the Pioneer Press, wasn't impressed with "Amazing Grace" and gave it two stars. Kenneth Turan, film critic for NPR's Morning Edition and the L.A. Times, liked it a lot. Some highlights of his review:
...Fortunately, director Michael Apted and his team have understood the challenges of this kind of story and met them with intelligence and energy.
Apted, whose dramatic credits include Coal Miner's Daughter and HBO's Rome, has been true to the outsized emotions of the story without giving way to sentimentality.
A major factor in this success is strong acting...
...Given Apted's documentary background with the landmark 7 Up series, this film has a visually striking sense of period. From crowded docks to the chaos of London streets, Amazing Grace puts us right into the past in a most convincing way.
Though looking at history as the work of great men may be out of favor, Amazing Grace embraces this point of view and makes it its own.