'12 years A Slave' is a riveting experience from its first scene to the very last moment before the credits roll. Director Steve McQueen takes us on a journey of vicarious and first-hand emotion, placing us in a symbolic time machine for two hours and fourteen minutes to viscerally experience the heart-wrenching and triumphant true life story of a free Black man kidnapped in 1841 and sold as a slave.
“Solomon Northrup”, brilliantly played by Chiwetel Ejiofor is deeply courageous, intelligent, talented and profoundly wise. Alongside Northrup’s character is “Patsey”, a woman with the inner strength of a warrior goddess; robbed of her freedom, kidnapped and also sold as a slave; her character is brought to life by the brave, daring and unforgettable performance of Lupita Nyong'o.
Every scene breaks your heart simultaneously as you marvel in the perfection of each and every performance delivered by the entire cast. It is a sobering and thought-provoking film that will leave you vacillating between perspectives of then and now; wondering how much of the mental anguish and suffering accumulated by the slaves ancestral lineage lives on in the minds and souls of their descendants; while at the same time hopefully offering a renewed sense of pride in their heritage. Underscoring the strength and perseverance of this thought is a line in the movie spoken by Solomon describing the survival of slavery vs. the fight for freedom, “Survival’s about sudden death. It’s about keeping your head down. I don’t want to survive, I want to live”.
This film is not for mere entertainment, this film is meant to enlighten the masses to the truth and open an internal and external dialogue to release anger, offer apology, grant forgiveness and find healing for the generational degradation of an entire race of people, ultimately creating a better life for us all. '12 Years A Slave' is a movie that every American should see, based on a book every student should be required to read, about a man every human being should be honored to know.
Now showing in select cities, the film opens nationwide on November 1, 2013.