12 Years a SlaveA
Director: Steve McQueen
Writer and Screenplay: John Ridley
Summary: 12 years a slave tells the story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free African American man living in New York in 1841 with his wife and children. Solomon is introduced to two gentlemen that he believes are new friends who invite him up to New York for dinner and conversation about a business deal they thought he might be interested in. There he treated to dinner and too much alcohol leading him to pass out in a hotel room. When he awakes shackled and he is in chains and laying in a concrete cell.
The story continues with him being whipped and shackled and sent by boat to the south where he is bought by a southern plantation owner who has many slaves. He tries to tell anyone that will listen that he is a free man. They do not believe him and he is now living the life as a slave.
He meets a young woman and her young children. The children are with her until they get to the south. There they sell the young children. She cannot accept the loss and cries continually. She is sold to the same slave owner as Solomon.
He decides that he must act like a slave, not like the free man he is in the north. He does what is asked of him and tries to encourage a young mother to do the same. She does not and ends up killed. Solomon is a gifted musician who is asked throughout the story to play the fiddle at social gatherings of the plantation owners.
Solomon is bought and sold many times. He continues his life as a slave while trying to figure out how to return to his life in the north.
After many scenes of human cruelty and humanity he finds a way to get a letter to the north. After that, life turns around for him and he is returned to his home and family where life has changed dramatically after 12 years.
Review: The directing by Steve McQueen was excellent, as well John Ridle did at getting the history right on this film. There was no sugar coating as it told the story of Solomon and what it was like to be enslaved during the 19th century.
I enjoyed this film very much. It was fast paced with some flashbacks of his life as a free man at the beginning of the film. The Southern plantations were beautiful except for the atrocities that are going on within their boundaries.
I especially liked the fact that this story was true. The acting was very good and very convincing. I felt it was very authentic and believable for the mid 1800’s.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Solomon is excellent in this movies. His face portrays the anguish he is feeling and really tells the story of a slave during this time period. Lupita Nyong’o who played,
The movie moves along nicely and keeps you interested until the end. Once again, it brought back the terrible events that led to the Civil War.
12 years a slave, won best picture, best supporting actress, Lupita Nyong’o and Screenplay by John Ridley.
I would recommend this picture to anyone that likes history or period movies as well as the general public. It is painful to watch some of the violence but it is done with expertise and sincerity. I would not recommend it for children as it is rated R with violence, sex, and nudity.