12 Years a Slave tells the true story of Northup while describing the very detailed and grueling atrocities he faced while a slave. Prior to his kidnapping, he was a well-off educated and talented husband and father in Sarasota Springs, NY who played the violin. But one incident would revoke him of his human rights, strip him of his birth name (renamed “Platt”) and lead him to an auction house to be sold as cattle. However, as millions of other slaves, Northup would learn to adjust to the cruelties that he would face in the name of a God who condoned the enslavement and mistreatment of others.
After viewing 12 Years a Slave, I was raw (emotionally and mentally) as I hadn’t witnessed anything as riveting since Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ. As I sat in the movie theater about nine years ago with closed and tear-filled eyes, listening as Jesus (actor Jim Caviezel) took lashing after lashing my heart ached. And then to be escorted to that place again by McQueen, let’s just say that I’m fragile and raw but wiser. While it hurts to know that the country that I love allowed hatred to imprison generations of my ancestors, I’m wiser because I know that I must be the change I want to see. Hate has no place in this world and I’ll always use my voice and keystrokes to advocate for those who are mistreated as a result of it.
I applaud McQueen on his ability to pull moviegoers into Northup’s world, not with sympathy but with a genuine respect for his ability to live in an unfamiliar world and not give up on his desire to see his family again. More so, Ejiofor’s acting was mesmerizing as he pulled me into his world each time I gazed into his eyes.
If you haven’t seen 12 Years a Slave, check your local movie listings for release dates and movie times. If it’s not showing in your area, request that your local theater brings it to your city or town. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on this riveting film, I promise you won’t be the same. Oh, and get your copy of the book, 12 Years a Slave and look for my book review soon.
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Photo Credit: Fox
Release Date: 11/1
Run Time: 134 min