12 Years a Slave a Film 'for the Ages'
Steve McQueen directs stark look at US slavery
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Oct 18, 2013 1:15 AM CDT
Updated Oct 18, 2013 6:30 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave is winning widespread praise for its unflinching—and brilliantly acted—portrayal of the horrors of slavery. The film, adapted from Solomon Northup's 1853 memoir, tells the story of a free man tricked into enslavement on a Louisiana plantation.

  • "Movie audiences have never been presented with anything quite like the intertwined beauty and savagery of 12 Years a Slave," writes Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal. "It seems certain to transcend the movie realm and become a new reference point in contemporary culture—a defining vision of what slavery looked like, and felt like, in the US before the Civil War."

  • The film is "a nightmare in broad daylight," writes Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. "Obviously, no film can re-create the unspeakable degradation of one human being owning another, but in making the attempt, 12 Years insists we feel things in a particularly oppressive way. This is impressive filmmaking."
  • It's "a mesmerizing period drama for the ages." Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor—whose "performance must certainly figure into the Oscar running"—as Solomon and Michael Fassbender as slaveowner Edwin Epps, alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, and Lupita Nyong'o, the movie boasts "probably the finest cast of any film this year," writes Claudia Puig in USA Today.
  • "In many respects, 12 Years a Slave works like a horror movie," though one infused with a "radiant aesthetic," observes Peter DeBruge in Variety. Audiences are forced to "confront concepts and scenes that could conceivably transform their worldview."

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Showing 3 of 93 comments
Oct 26, 2013 7:07 AM CDT
Thank GOD for sending His Christ 'Father Abraham' Lincoln to end slavery. "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord..."
Oct 18, 2013 10:39 PM CDT
Nobody's talking about how many white people DIED to end slavery. Movies like this just continue to promote racist tensions by "asking" black people to hate us (which is the same thing our own President did...)
Oct 18, 2013 10:17 PM CDT
I never tire of the right wing BS that tries to put the blame for black slavery on black people. They complain about left wing white guilt but this pathetic argument shows they are ones with the most guilt. Yes I sure that black people did turn on one other for profit but only because there was a large market for black slaves created, maintained and profited on by WHITE people. So you clowns will never bring that stupid argument up again and think that exonerates whites will you.