WOW! What a fantastic movie! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a drama that has left me breathless. This is up there with Schindler’s List and the Color Purple in my opinion. The movie was super depressing and wonderful all at the same time. The acting was phenomenal and the cinematography was artistic – simply stunning visuals.

This movie was based on the true accounts of Solomon Northup, a free black man of the North until he is kidnapped and sold into slavery.

You really feel for Mr Northup and the experience of slavery felt so much more horrifying to me because he was a free man. I can’t imagine the injustice of being tricked away from my family and sold into slavery. The movie shows the horrors of what happens to “slaves” who fight back and to those who submit. This movie showed a slightly more juxtaposed version of the slave market. In other movies you see the typical slave auction but here, the slaves are nakedly on display inside a beautifully kept home.

Every actor in the movie performed a convincing role whether it was as a free man or a slave. There are good people, bad people, and some simply crazy people. The movie doesn’t shy away from showing the dishonorable truths of the darkness that lies within human nature.

At every hope of happiness, liberation, or escape that hope is immediately destroyed by the tragic reality of extreme punishment or gruesome death. The fear and misery of the slaves is palpable and with the extreme circumstances shown I imagine these travesties rooting deep into the psyche of slave descendants. The actors who portrayed the slave owner’s were also superb. The aspect I enjoyed most was the incites into the slave owner’s ideals and justifications for their actions.

The ending was bittersweet. I was left grateful that Mr. Northup was given the help he needed to return to his family as a free man again. But I was also left with sadness at the thought that he had missed out on 12 years of his children’s lives. At the moment he left the plantation there must have been great turmoil inside him. Gratefulness that he is finally freed mixed with guilt that his is free and others are not. How awful that must have been. After experiencing a life like that, I too would become an abolitionist.

This is a movie to add to your collection. It gives a realistic account of slavery and will help future generations remember a black stain on America’s history that should not be played down or forgotten.

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