Written by: Reuben Barbosa
I have seen 12 Years a Slave three times already, and I’ve come to appreciate it more on a
personal level, not for its portrayal of slavery, it is an accurate display of a man who loses his
freedom, dignity, and sense of passion. The movie is directed by Steve McQueen, whose
previous films Hunger and Shame have also dealt with men in predicaments uncommon to us,
but that we are still able to relate to.
Many critics have called his films impersonal, though if you were to look closely at them, you
could see they’re all subtle in their own ways. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Lupita
Nyong’o are all perfect for their roles, and all succeed in breaking away from the clichéd roles in
many slavery roles (either too helpless or too evil). Their characters have hidden depths that
make you question their overall motives and psychological conditions, especially Fassbender and
Nyong’o. However, Chiwetel Ejiofor steals the show, by portraying Solomon Northup in a subtle
and calm manor, capturing his internal struggle, and allowing us to connect to him, especially in
The cinematography and production are amazing as with all of McQueen’s films, and there many
long shots that work effectively to the film and aren’t there for the sake of a long shot or merely
to pull on emotions. One shot that works amazingly, involves Solomon in a dangerous situation,
where not only are you thinking of his safety, but also the actions of other slaves around him and
the sad truth of their living conditions.
I don’t care much for the Oscars, but I would say that 12 Years a Slave deserves nominations in
Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress,
Cinematography, Production Design, Make-up, and any other award that can apply to it.
It’s very easy to look at the film and screenplay and say it’s a film made to make you feel sad
about slavery I say it’s a movie that makes you think simply about one man’s psychological
downfall with slavery and the way the world is still cruel, even if you have a changing opinion.
Other Movies I Recommend:
Dallas Buyers Club
Blue is the Warmest Color
Inside Llewyn Davis