12 Years a Slave
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Top Customer Reviews
The historical drama is immediately uncomfortable and difficult to watch as it takes little time before Solomon gets his first beating and it's just the tip of the iceberg as far as excruciating sequences go. The cast is extraordinary as you see extremely familiar faces pop up here and there; Benedict Cumberbatch as a Baptist preacher and slave owner, Paul Giamatti as a man in charge of selling slaves and getting the best price for them, and Brad Pitt as a Canadian carpenter with an Amish beard. Paul Dano continues his streak of impeccable performances. Dano's portrayal of sleaziness and smarmy characters reaches new heights in "12 Years a Slave." He is extremely unsettling in the film.
The two standouts of the supporting cast are Lupita Nyong'o as Patsey and Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps. Patsey picks the most cotton out on the field every day and Master Epps (Fassbender) takes a liking to her because of it. Nyong'o's suffering bleeds through in her performance in every gesture and facial expression. Patsey's journey is heartbreaking and you feel it deep within your soul.Read more ›
It is unlikely anyone who goes to see this film won't have some idea about what it's about. There have been many fine films about slavery. And while 2012's "Django Unchained" certainly has violent elements associated with American slavery, that film and others often remind you that it's only a movie. This movie will draw you in and does so with the unique history of Solomon Northup, an actual freeman who lived a good life in Saratoga, New York. In 1841, he had a beautiful wife and 2 children (one played by Oscar nominee Quvenshane Wallis). He was a classical violinist and highly respected in the community.
Approached by a pair of "gentlemen" (including a couldn't-believe-my-eyes Taran Killam from "Saturday Night Live") Solomon (an amazing Chiwetel Ejiofor) is enticed by a financial offer to play a gig in Washington, D. C. Once there, he is kidnapped, shackled and sent by steamer to New Orleans. Upon his arrival he is sold as an escaped slave. During this first act, Solomon must quickly learn how to behave, how to act. Just to stay alive. Even talking is frowned upon, so Ejiofor must speak to the audience with his eyes and his expressions to project the torment he is experiencing. Director Steve McQueen often focuses the camera on faces to bring out the pain of the oppressed as well as the viciousness of the oppressors. McQueen doesn't shy away from anything so be prepared.
Slaves, both men and women, are herded together like cattle. They are stripped, hosed down and sold naked. It is hard to watch. Even harder, mothers and children are separated. This is gut-wrenching story telling.Read more ›
This story is primarily about those 12 years a slave from the book Northup later wrote detailing the transition from free man to slave, the shocking living conditions and treatment of slaves in the south, and his own ordeal in the hands of three slave owners within a system of institutionalized captivity and abuse. His account provides a rare and incredible historic insight. The film is gritty, raw, real and details exactly how slavery "worked" in this country, including the many lines of defense to prevent escape, the extreme measures to deny freedoms, the ways slaves survived and did not, and the ill effects on the people committing or allowing such atrocities.
Torture and violence are set against an often beautiful scenic background, a physical example of the many contrasts presented in this film. The characters are complex and many insights into that time in history are revealed as well as eternal truths about human nature, cruelty and kindness, survival and courage. In this beautifully shot, masterfully crafted film, the main actor Chiwetel Ejiofor makes you desperately feel each and every emotion Solomon experiences from a carefree stroll with his wife and children in New York all the way through his horrific ordeal until his reunion with his family 12 years later. Won't be surprised to see this one sweep the Academy awards and gain recognition as a best film of all times.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The movie is good, but like so many movies, it is not completely accurate, according to the book. The movie has been "Hollywoodized", supposedly to sell more tickets. Read morePublished 7 days ago by L. McGough
This movie was a reality check about the atrocities committed then and now on human beings.Published 8 days ago by Judy Bell
Very emotional, very well acted, very well done. Loved this movie!Published 9 days ago by Elizabeth Lane
I show this movie to my classes to help them visualize the history and readings we discuss. It's one of the best portrayals of the horrors of slavery that I've ever seen in my life... Read morePublished 9 days ago by R. Brooks
While most movies about slaves in the Antebellum south focus on people who were either born into slavery or were abducted from Africa and brought to the New World against their... Read morePublished 13 days ago by D. Roberts
A very emotional and epic film about a slave's destiny that is incredible from the very fact that he should never have been one, emphasizing the absurdity of slavery. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
Yes. Slavery was, still is, just debasement. What I am tired of is Hollywood rehashing what we already know. Europeans, realising the evils, worked hard to abolish slavery. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Joan