Twelve Years a Slave Solomon Northup's Odyssey
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Based on his narrative "Twelve Years a Slave," Solomon Northrup's good life - as a free black man with a trade - and his dreams came to a crashing halt when Solomon was kidnapped and carried off into slavery to serve on plantations in the South. For twelve long years he experienced the cruelty and subjugation that was slavery.
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But when I realized that in fact it was a made for TV move for public television I realized I'd been too harsh. Yes, it has production values you'd expect from a low budget PBS film, but the story is great, the acting is good, and it's an eye opening view of history. I recommend watching it and not trying to compare it to the hit film, as they take very different approaches to telling the story.
Conversely, it's seems nearly impossible to talk truthfully about anyone's experience with slavery in the Americas (or anywhere else) without mentioning 'adult content'. I love how this movie was able to portray the imbalance of power, jealousy, violence, moral and ethical compromises and many other topics WITH OUT graphic details. It didn't detract from the story at all. Not one bit.
Solomon Northrop had an ideal life and an extraordinary gift of playing the fiddle. It was that life which made him a valuable commodity. Who wouldn't want a strong and talented slave? It turns out that many people did. While never forgetting who he was, he acclimated to his surroundings and survived a horrendous ordeal.
This film cuts to the heart of how he was devalued and priceless at the same time. What a life...what a problem.