12 Years a Slave (2013) By Steve McQueen | Movie Review

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12 years a slave
12 years a slave

12 Years a Slave was inspired by true events. I think that this movie was a masterpiece because the director managed to capture the true sufferings African American people had to endure in the 1840s. This movie won 3 Academy Awards including the best picture of the year and for the best supporting actress. Also it nominated for 6 more Academy Awards including for lead and supporting actors.

The story is about an African American man named Solomon Northup from Upstate New York. He is married with two kids and he was a free man and a great violin player. Then two men approach him and convince him to play his violin for their circus. It was good money for Solomon so he agrees. Then afterward they drug him and sell him for a slave in Washington D.C. Solomon couldn’t prove that he was a free man because he didn’t had his papers with him and for every white man, he was just a black slave. Then a good man named Ford from Louisiana buys him. Then he gets fond of Solomon but later Solomon beats up a white worker from Mr. Ford’s plantation.

Then that worker tries to get his revenge by killing Solomon. So Mr. Ford gets no choice but to sell Solomon to another slave owner named Mr. Epps. He gets physically and mentally abused by Epps but he had no choice but to suffer that in silence. In that plantation he meets another African lady named Patsey. Epps had special feelings toward her. Because of that Mrs. Epps always beats her up out of pure jealousy. At one time Patsey asks Solomon to kill her because she couldn’t endure the suffering.

Then at one time a white man comes to Mr. Epps plantation to work on a slave level. Then Solomon gives him all the money he had and tells him if he could post a letter in return.  He agrees to it but later he rats on about that to Mr. Epps. So when he confronted Solomon about it, he manages to lie and convince Epps that it was a lie. Then later he burns that letter. While he was looking at the final remaining of that letter, we can see that his hope to survival fades away from his eyes.

Then after some time, Patsey gets caught by Epps when she was going to a near plantation to get some soap for her. He gets so furious about it for no reason and wanted to punish her for that. Then he ties her to a tree and tries to whip her. But at first he couldn’t bring himself to do it. So he forces Solomon to do it.

At the begging he did it slowly but then Epps threatens him that if he don’t whip her properly and hard as he could, he would shoot every black man on his sight. Then he had no choice but to whip her with all he got. Then after he stops, Epps grabs the whip from him and whips Patsey again till she nearly dies. This whole scene was visible to the audience. We could sense the brutality in that moment and how her back gets tortured by the whippings. Also the director managed to get this whole scene in one camera take. There was no editing throughout this moment. It made this scene the saddest and most realistic moment of the film.

Then later, Solomon gets to make a gazebo for Epps with a Canadian worker named Bass. At first he confronts Epps of the brutality he puts upon his slaves. Because of this Solomon realize that Bass is against slavery. Then he manages to tell his story to Bass and convince him to write a letter about his situation to his people in New York. Then Bass promise him that he would send that letter and he kept that promise. Then after a while a Sheriff comes to Epps’ plantation with a white friend of Solomon’s, named Mr. Parker. Then when Solomon sees Mr. Parker, he burst into tears and runs to him and hugs him. Epps try to keep Solomon by saying that he is his property. But Mr. Parker and the Sheriff manages to free Solomon from Epps.

Then after about 12 years since he gets sold as a slave, he returns home. When he goes to his house, his daughter was married and already had a baby. His son was also grown up and his wife was waiting for him for all that time. Then when he reunites with his family, the movie ends. It was a very happy and satisfying ending for the audience.

I personally believe that this movie is phenomenal because it was rich in all aspects. Directing, Acting, Casting and the story were flawless. I couldn’t find any faults throughout the movie. I would definitely recommend this movie to everyone because I think all of us should watch this movie so we would understand what black people had to go through because of slavery and how that effected the society back in the day. This movie would give us a perspective of how people treated black people in that era even when they were not legally slaves. So all and all this is a must watch.

 

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