Monday, February 27, 2017

1024. 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave
Directed by Steve McQueen

I didn't watch the Oscars, but I did see that Casey Affleck won Best Actor.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised, given the current political situation, but it is still depressing how powerful men can pretty much do whatever the hell they want with no impact on their careers.  Sad! That was my imitation of He Who Must Not Be Named, if you didn't pick up on it.

Ahem.  Moving on.  12 Years a Slave.  Solomon Northup is a free man working as a violinist in New York and supporting his wife and children.  Two white men persuade Northup to travel with them to Washington D.C. and work as a musician.  Once they arrive, they drug him and ship him to New Orleans, where he is sold to William Ford, who then sells him to the sadistic slave owner Edwin Epps.  Um...things get worse.

Well, there is not a whole lot of tension in this film, as we basically know the entire outline of the plot before we even get started.  It was an uncomfortable experience, but an experience that I think was quite necessary.  I even liked (well, perhaps the wrong word to use here) that Northup was a free man in the beginning, as I felt like the audience could connect more with his plight and imagine what they would do in that scenario.  I do have to complain a little that, once again, the white men kind of had to save the day.  I would prefer a more Django-y ending.  However, I realize this was based on a true story so I'm not too perturbed about it.

Anyway, this was brilliantly acted, particularly by Lupita Nyong'o.  I'm in awe that this was her first film.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Michael Fassbender had his make up artist paint alcohol on his mustache so the other actors would react naturally to the smell.

Solomon Northup disappeared four years after being freed.  His disappearance remains a mystery.


  1. I liked reading your review, but I could not watch this film. I got anxious even thinking about the story and felt so sad even imagining it happening. Good review, as always, Amanda!

  2. Yes, good review! It is really difficult to watch but that's probably the point: to make us, white folks, to feel the suffering of slavery. As Amanda says, "It was an uncomfortable experience, but an experience that I think was quite necessary."