It’s one of the hardest movies I’ve ever has to watch but it’s worthy watching. This definitely belongs on the list of 1,001 movies you must see before you die, especially if you are an American of any race creed or color. It’s a dark part of our history that people would like to forget, but I noticed that in the time and age we live in, it does not pay to sweep such things under the rug. Like the saying goes, those who do not know history are doom to repeat it and it feels like that’s what’s happening today.
Directed by a black man from Britain by the familiar name of Steve McQueen, it would seem futile to get all your american history from a movie, but that’s not the reason you watch 12 Years a Slave. You watch it for the brutally honest emotional portrait of what it’s like for a human being to be sold as property and treated like all the other farm animals. It’s so easy to place something out of sight and out of mind, but I do feel watching the uneasiness of the story of Solomon Northup makes you a better person.
Solomon Northup (whose played by British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor) was a man from New York who was kidnapped in Washington DC and sold into slavery. For the most part, when he told the slave owners that he was a free man it was not that they did not believe him because he was black, they did not have to believe him because he was black. For me, in a nut shell, that’s what american slavery was all about. Solomon Northup is a good avatar for African Americans today, because Solomon was like most African Americans are like now. Just imagine if one day you woke up in chains and are about to be sold by the dozen like cattle, and when you tried to explain you don’t belong here, the white’s selling don’t respect you enough because of the color of your skin to give a shit so they just smack you, whip you and hang you to get you to shut up. There was even one guy by the name of Ford (played by Benedict Cumberbatch). He believed Solomon’s cries for help but refused to let Solomon go because the action would not benefit him financially (Bushing off what the action would do for his own soul).
From a film making perceptive, the movie was very real and very fair towards the overall account of slavery. I really hate learning new things about slavery but it is important to learn history. The movie pulls no punches about what slavery is all about, and tires to show all the aspects of it. Like how Christianity was used to brainwash slaves into submitting to their new environment outside of Africa, and the dark images of watching slaves being hung all day without dying. I saw rumors on the internet that stated that Solomon Northup was not a nice man. The movie itself showed this as it was obvious Northup only cared about his freedom and the wrong done to him and was easily conformed with how things are. This only makes the movie more realistic for me.
12 years a slave is a movie that hits you and touches you. It’s realism tells a great story visually, and it makes me feel like a different person after I’ve watched it.