Film Review: 12 Years a Slave

Watched ’12 Years a Slave’ <http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/12_years_a_slave/> recently. What a powerful movie. Leaves you squirming in your seat literally! Though we have all read, heard and seen a lot of material about Slavery, every time you see something like this it touches the innermost sacred space in your soul. It leaves you hurting in ways you never thought possible.

The movie is the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, who was abducted and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War United States. The cruelty he and others face is simply torturous. Some of the scenes are haunting and remembering them still sends a shiver down my spine and no, its not pleasant!

The torture suffered by a young girl Patsey is simply horrific and the scene where she asks Solomon to do her a favor and drown her in a nearby river is gut wrenching. Most people in the audience would have wanted him to do so and end her misery! Another chilling scene is where Solomon is forced to whip Patsey. One of the many scenes where I was forced to close my eyes and let the tears flow.

Solomon persistently keeps trying to send a message across to his friends and family. Unable to silently bear injustices, he retaliates often and keeps getting tortured and nearly killed. The scene with him hanging from a noose and balancing on his toes for dear life, is another painful scene. Eventually he meets a sympathetic Canadian carpenter who helps him get his letter across and he is rescued. The last scene where he meets his wife and two kids (now all grown up) after 12 years is really touching too.

A very well made movie with a stellar cast and some superb performances, this is a movie to watch if you think you can take the pain. I’m still hurting.

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