Movie Review: “12 Years A Slave”

OVERALL: Amazing movie. Powerful, fantastic, breathtaking, BEAUTIFULLY made movie. It is a perfect, masterful piece of cinema and has Academy Award winner all over it.

POINTS: Slavery Sucks. If you think it is bad you are wrong: It is WORSE. It is the worst thing you can imagine and then even worse than that. It is amazing that the evil of slavery was so well shown in this movie. There was no over dramatization – just realistic acting. Just a realist portrayal of Living in Hell. This is a brilliant, powerful movie.

Also note that is has Oscar written all over it. If this movie the director Steve McQueen and lead Chiwetel Ejiofor don’t get nominated for Oscars, the Academy is ever more idiotic than I thought.

PITFALLS: Hmmm….. None. I can’t think of any flaw in this movie. Academy Award Winner/At LEAST Nomination is written all over the masterpiece. (Yes Academy, I’m looking at you.)

FEMALE CHARACTER(S): So many, so good, so complex. The women in this movie are shown to be PEOPLE!! They are not there for the hero’s benefit – they are there in their own right!!!! Hooray! The pathos and pain that these women show in their roles is riveting. Of special note are Eliza, played by Adepero Oduye and Patsy played by Lupita Nyong’o. These women are not seen as objects, but as flesh and blood people with real stories to tell. Of course we get to see and even hear from their own mouths the horror of their situation. From having their children taken from them to be continually raped by a slave owner, we see and feel their pain. And wonder at their resilience. To survive such cruelty – readers I do not have the words.

What has also impressed me is that yes the black people are stripped naked, but it is not done in a exploitative way. It is done realistically to show how terribly dehumanizing these people were treated. Usually when I see a nude woman on screen I am pulled out of the movie as I roll my eyes and think less of the director for making her take her clothes off. Making women strip for the pleasure of the male gaze only really pisses me off. But not in this movie. Oh no. The women are naked because the white people in this movie are racist, soulless, horrible “people” who know, in their gut, that stripping these people, these man and women, is a way to humiliate and subjugate them. I cannot even begin to tell you how impressed I am with director Steve McQueen for this alone. (Have I mentioned he should get an Academy Award? He should. If he is not at least nominated I will scream about it here.)

Oh and Alfre Woodard as Mistress Show. Oh. My. Alfre. Woodard. This woman DELIVERS; performance practically leaping off the screen. She is in only one scene and she makes a huge impact. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, just you wait. If you have seen the movie, you know what I mean. She, along with the rest of this talented cast, needs to be at least nominated too.

CULTURAL PITFALL(S): Slavery Sucks. Since this movie fully understood and brought that concept to light, I have no complaints.

HIGH POINT(S): You know how some movies/TV shows/books get described as “A triumph of the human spirit!” Usually that annoys me as it just seems phoney. What really annoys me now is that those words are not being used to describe this movie. To see people in slavery, in Hell, live each day, sing, take care of each other, and simply survive IS THE triumph of the human spirit! To know that millions of people throughout human history have suffered in these conditions AND YET CONTINUED TO CREATE LIVES is a miracle. Our hero, Mr. Solomon Northrup, is a true hero. He survived. Amazing. If you do not wish to salute this man and all who have lived in those same conditions, then your heart is wrong. Huzzah.

Speaking of survival, here is one of Mr. Northrop’s descendants with the talented director, Steve McQueen. Huzzah to this lady and her family!!!

BECHDEL TEST (Website): I do not believe this movie passes the Bechdel Test but that in no way diminishes its power. In fact, I would say that portrays women very well as it portrays them as three dimensional people. Huzzah!!!

IMDB: 12 Years a Slave (2013)

OFFICIAL MOVIE WEBSITE:  12 Years a Slave

DVD/BLU-RAY WORTHY: Yes yes yes!!!!

 LION PAW PRINTS:  4 of 5. This masterpiece is Oscar material!!!

12 Years a Slave movie poster

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