12 Years A Slave
Recently, I had the privilege of experiencing Director Steve McQueen’s Oscar Award Winning film; 12 Years A Slave. The movie was nothing short of excellence, leaving me with a gut wrenching feeling of how horrible our beloved country once was and reminded me of how many still struggle with racism to this day. Educating, inspiring and an emotional roller coaster are a few things which come to mind when describing this film in my point of view. I am very pleased with getting a second chance at seeing it in the theaters and kick myself for not going when it first came out.
Based on a true story written long ago by a man named; Soloman Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), the events take place during the pre-Civil War United States era following his tragic journey sending Soloman through what some may describe as hell itself. Once a free black man and what seems a successful musician from upstate of New York, Soloman becomes abducted and sold into the slavery market separating him from his wife and two children. Soloman faces dim and dark days during his struggle to survive, but displays a deep willingness to live his now broken life, in hopes of freedom once again so he may see his disconnected family. The journey Soloman takes is filled with horrible life changing experiences that will forever shape him. 12 Years A Slave is packed with emotion and educating the viewers on just how evil people were during this time. As Soloman’s story unfolds, the audience can’t help but feel the pain and suffering he and many others actually went through. Most films which have depicted slavery in America have only scratched the surface of how things truly were. McQueen held nothing back when directing 12 Years A Slave, showing everyone what occurred in these dark shadows of history.
When I watched this film, I was judging every scene with the knowledge of it being an award winning title. I viewed things overly critical having this knowledge, but 12 Years A Slave did not disappoint and showed exactly why it won Best Picture. Each actor played their role very well contributing to the pictures achievements. One actress in particular was; Lupita Nyong’o who played Patsey. Patsey was another slave who crossed paths with Soloman as the two of them became “property” to their slave owner Epps (Michael Fassbender). Nothing was held back in the portrayal of Epps. The ruthless malevolent slave owner lived up to his reputation as the man who could break down any slave like a bully kicking an injured dog. His drunkenness and lust for Patsey made nothing any easier for Soloman, who essentially found himself in the role similar of a father looking after his daughter. Lupita’s acting was so good, she too won an Oscar for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role. This isn’t to take anything away from Chiwetel Ejiofor nor Michael Fassbender. Their performances were equally outstanding enough to deserve the honor of an Oscar as well, but mostly likely fell just short to the amazing performances by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club. Aside from being a Producer of the film, Brad Pitt also makes his appearance as Bass, a man who will forever alter the life of Soloman.
See 12 Years A Slave in theaters while you still can. Be prepared to see some of the most saddening moments from our history. This film has no redemption and is depressing to say the least. If you’re one to cry often while watching a movie, bring a box of tissues. 12 Years A Slave is now in my eyes one of the greatest movies of our time and will be for years to come.
About: Jake Grunwald
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