Flash Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave

I first learned about prejudice in elementary school, but it was not from school books. My first exposure had to do with religious differences. After answering a classmate’s question on what was my religion, he told me I was dirty. At the time I was confused by his comment, remembering I looked down at my hands to see if they were unclean. Shortly after I discovered other classmates were treated to the same encounter. If you were not the same religion as this boy, he believed something was wrong with you. The next form of prejudice I witnessed occurred later when a new student was enrolled into my class who was African American. There was no overt actions taken against her; however, she was shunned by several students. I did not understand why classmates would react in such a way, let alone try to figure out the reasoning  behind it. My elementary school years were only a prelude to the horrors I would encounter when I entered into high school. One of the reasons I started this review by writing about the prejudices and discriminations I saw at such a young age was to prepare you for what were the most realistic depictions of them that I have ever seen in a movie. Based on Solomon Northup’s memoir, this movie should be required viewing in every school. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men, American Gangster) was unbelievable playing Solomon; a free black man with a wife and two children, living in upper state New York who was kidnapped, shipped to Louisiana and sold into slavery. Directed by Steve McQueen (Shame, Hunger), I have never experienced the range of intensity and hatred portrayed in a film about slavery like it was done in this film festival winner. Relative newcomer Lupita Nyong’o was outstanding in her role as Patsey, the slave of cotton plantation owner Edwin Epps, played by Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method, Prometheus). The story was amazing to watch on film; I can only imagine what Solomon Northup’s book must be like to read. Even with some actors such as Paul Dano (Prisoners, Ruby Sparks) as Tibeats and Benedict Cumberbatch (Atonement,War Horse) as Ford having brief screen time, they still made every minute count with their characters. This is a movie that needs to be seen by everyone. Now I certainly would not be considered an optimist, but forgive me if my hope is the human race would be better by witnessing the ugliness of prejudice and slavery shown in this magnificent film. There were several scenes that showed blood and violence.


4 stars


About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on October 21, 2013, in Drama and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I went to this ritzy grammer school in Pacific Heights of San Francisco and the teachers and kids called me “Their little brown friend.” Been there done that.

  2. aguywithoutboxers

    Bigotry and marginalization, regardless of the reason, is deplorable and wrong. This is one film, based on your opinion, that I honestly feel I MUST see. Thanks for sharing! Much love and naked hugs! 🙂

  3. Chiwetel Ejiofor is an amazing actor. I first saw him in Dirty Pretty Things and then Kinky Boots (which is my favourite of his films). can’t wait to see this film.

    • I cannot wait for you to see it, you will be blown away by Chiwetel’s performance. I would love to hear back from you after you see this movie. Thanks for coming by to leave your comments.

  4. Melissa Harris-Perry (I think it was) said yesterday this is the best movie you should see only once, it is so overwhelming. It sounds like the one movie one needs to see to understand this part of history and its impact on life even now.

    • I can understand Melissa saying that about this movie. I hope you get to see it soon and I would enjoy hearing your thoughts of it. Thanks for coming by to leave your comments.

  5. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see this movie because I presumed it was a story conveying hopelessness and submission; for instance, Roots. Thanks so much for your review and the trailer. I now look forward to seeing 12 Years A Slave.

  6. I have yet to see this film. As my wife and I missed our opportunity to see it on a big screen, we are anticipating its DVD release.

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