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12 years a slave a movie i never want to see again

Simple moments hold great power. Connect with me at my website: A link is provided below. If you have not seen the film, you should also know that the following review will discuss the plot in great detail. I grew up learning about slavery in school.

My history books covered it. We talked about it in class. But I always viewed it as something that happened. Of course I knew it was horribly wrong. It was a stain on our history. Then I watched 12 Years a Slave. If there is any film that I believe should be required viewing for every American, it should be this film. Even after so many excruciating scenes, this small moment finds new ways to break our hearts. These things happened — to real people.

I think we need to consider that. Later, we see them in the crowded slave quarters. We watch as Northup engages in a sexual encounter with an unamed woman.

12 Years a Slave is a masterpiece – try not to hold that against it

No nudity is shown, but it is graphic. From the very beginning, we are shown how the dehumanizing nature of slavery makes its victims desperate for any contact. At the outset, let me just make a quick note about the sexual content in this film. It is graphic, and both male and female nudity is shown. The nudity is never in a sexual context, but is rather used to show how inhumanely the slaves are treated. Literally everything is stripped from them.

This initial scene is one of two depictions of overt sexual content on screen, although there are sexual references made later in the film. The sexual content is just one of many reasons this film is difficult to watch. As I mentioned in my primer on content in moviesI generally draw a harder line when it comes to depictions of sexual content, especially nudity.

But this is a rare film where I choose to overlook it. Because I think it simply is depicting truth. This is how these people were actually treated. I believe that depicting truth is the chief task of any film. There are other films that are true to their stories and contain just as much if not greater levels of sexual content or nudity. Nearly all of such films I choose not to watch.

However, I think this film is too important. Its quality in other areas put it in its own category, for me.

Steve McQueen: a lot of people didn’t want 12 Years A Slave to be made

Instead, I choose to look away from the screen when I need to. If you are anything like me, there will be other moments when you will need to avert your eyes. We then cut to scenes showing Northup as a free man. He has a family. He has a life. He works as a violinist, and he is approached by two men who offer him a short-term musician job if he will go to Washington D. But there is no job waiting for him. He awakes in a dark room. He had been drugged the night before.

Disoriented and alone, Northup has no idea what has happened or what comes next. Northup is sent to a slave pen, and we begin to see the dehumanization of slavery. At this point, Northup still views himself as a free man. Yet his captors beat him mercilessly. He confides in a fellow slave named Clemens Chris Chalk. Clemens tells Northup that he needs to keep a low profile. In the middle of the night, they are taken to a river boat where they will be transported south.

  1. She implores Epps to be more severe.
  2. In reality, it was probably just a few seconds.
  3. Transported by ship to New Orleans , Northup and other enslaved blacks contracted smallpox and one died.
  4. I was so touched by their faith.

They meet a slave named Robert Michael Kenneth Williams who says they should start a revolt. Northup is torn between the thoughts of his family and the words of Clemens, and they decide to wait.

  • Bass, at great risk to himself, sent letters to Northup's wife and friends in Saratoga;
  • At this point, Northup still views himself as a free man;
  • But McQueen's phenomenal storytelling had me riveted, and it's untrue that he dwells on the gore;
  • In 1998, Logsdon was invited by scholars in upstate New York to participate in a search for Solomon's grave;
  • He has an idea to take a spare sheet each time in order to craft a letter.

Later that night, a slaver comes to the hold intending to rape a slave named Eliza Adepero Oduye. Robert intercedes, and we watch with Northup as the slaver stabs and kills Robert.

Clemens and Northup are then tasked with disposing of the body.

As they drop his lifeless body in the river, Clemens remarks that Robert is better off dead. Though difficult scenes such as this one are prevalent throughout the film, one thing is certain.

This movie is beautifully directed by Steve McQueen. The horror of what we see depicted on screen is interspersed with gorgeous southern vistas. This is also a film where the music adds to the emotional impact instead of detracting from it. The boat arrives at the dock, and Clemens is greeted by his master. Clemens does away with any sign of his intellect and subserviently follows.

Northup has now lost his family and his only friend in the world. The freedom in his mind is slowly being chipped away. They are separated from each other, and Eliza begins wailing loudly. Yet, we have already seen enough to know that they put her in even more danger. They watch over the slaves, who are tasked with chopping timber.

Northup has an idea for a simpler way to transport the timber via the river. It works, and Tibeats is embarassed.

My review of one of my favorite films after watching it again…

We see his anger beginning to kindle. She responds by saying that Ford must clearly understand that Northup is not a slave, yet he has done nothing to free Northup. He begins to consider this. Tibeats makes repeated attempts to get back at Northup. The situation explodes when Tibeats attempts to beat Northup, but Northup fights back. We brace ourselves, as we know that this will not be allowed to stand. Chapin comes and breaks up the fight. He sends Tibeats away, and he tells Northup that he cannot protect him if he runs.

Access Check

And so we wait, knowing it is not over. Tibeats gathers up a posse, and they go to lynch Northup.

  1. Yet his captors beat him mercilessly. But time alone does not heal all wounds.
  2. Chapin, however, leaves Northup there — a punishment for striking a white man.
  3. It remains in the hearts of believers even in the bleakest situation. It goes back to the advice he initially received from Clemens — keep a low profile.

We watch in horror as they put the noose around his neck and prepare to hang him. Then, Chapin comes and chases them off while Northup struggles. His toes are barely touching the muddy ground. Chapin, however, leaves Northup there — a punishment for striking a white man.

You Need to See 12 Years a Slave

In an absolutely unbearable scene, the camera stares at Northup unflinchingly as various others walk past him hanging from the tree branch — his toes barely able to support him. This is everyday life to them.

I could not watch this scene without averting my eyes. I will never forget the feeling when I saw it for the first time in the theater. The camera just stays there, and we are forced to consider what we are seeing. Ford finally comes to cut Northup down, but his fate is sealed.

Northup is sold to Edwin Epps Michael Fassbendera man known for his propensity for merciless beatings. Epps sees his ownership of the slaves as a divine appointment. I shudder as he blasphemously uses Scripture to rationalize his actions. Yet, again, here must be a depiction of what these slave owners thought. They had so twisted the words of Scripture in their minds that they seemed to them to be a call to action rather than a rebuke for their horrific actions.

As at many other points of this film, it seems to me to be a truthful depiction of the horrors of slavery. Let me also take this opportunity to praise the acting in this film. Ejiofor is fantastic as Northup throughout. He speaks volumes with his eyes. I have no idea how Fassbender prepared for this role, but he is ruthless and frightening as Epps.