’12 Years a Slave’ review: does it live up to all of the awards hype?

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CB and I went to see 12 Years a Slave over the weekend! There were tears. There were frayed nerves and at one point, CB loudly proclaimed “What a BITCH” to one of the characters. There were also several points (usually involving whipping) that I had to cover my eyes. Overall… I’d say that 12 Years a Slave is an extraordinary masterpiece of a film, and I think it should and likely will win many, many awards. I’m also not in a big hurry to see it again. It’s definitely not one of those films that you can watch several times. Probably because the film was so well-done, the horrors (both minor and major) are indelible, so many scenes unforgetable and the sadness will haunt you for days (and weeks, and months) to come.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the broad story – Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, a free man living in upstate New York, was kidnapped in Washington, DC and sold into slavery. He was forcibly taken to Louisiana, where he worked for assorted slave masters played by Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender and Bryan Batt (best known to me as Gay Sal on Mad Men). The cruelest slave master, Epps, is played by Fassbender, complete with a ginger beard. Solomon befriends a few people along the way, including the young slave Patsey, played by Lupita Nyong’o. Other actors featured: Alfre Woodard, Sarah Paulson (she plays Epps’ psycho wife), Paul Giamatti (as a slave trader), Paul Dano (as another psycho bastard) and of course, Brad Pitt.

Best Actor Stuff: I went into this film wondering if Ejiofor’s performance was really going to be that showy or Oscar-worthy, but I have no doubts now. His performance isn’t really “showy” but quiet, sad and absolutely heart-breaking. I have no doubt he will be nominated for Best Actor, and I think he’s got a good chance at winning too. This is without a doubt Ejiofor’s best work to date, and that’s saying something because he’s got a CV full of wonderful performances.

Best Director Stuff: I also have to say that this is the most mature work I’ve seen from director Steve McQueen. I watched both Hunger and Shame, and while both films are beautiful, difficult to watch and well-done, both films did seem to have an “experimental” edge, like McQueen was still discovering who he is as a director. 12 Years sees McQueen come into his own as a visual artist, as a storyteller, and as a director of actors. McQueen’s eye never wavers, even when the viewer needs relief, McQueen doesn’t give it to you. The film is neither preachy nor inauthentic, and all the credit belongs to the way McQueen tells Solomon’s story.

Supporting performances: Cumberbatch played one of the more “benevolent” slave masters, but even then… he was far from a good man whatsoever. Still, I was slightly distracted by him because… well, frankly, he looked beautiful. Period clothing, great hair, that face. I know it’s wrong. You don’t have to tell me it’s wrong. Still, I was distracted, especially during one scene when he leaned over Solomon and a lock of hair fell into Ben’s face and my mind sort of wandered. As for Lupita and Fassbender, both of whom have been pegged early on for their award-worthy performances, I think it’s for sure that both will be nominated for supporting-actor Oscars. Fassbender has said he “won’t campaign”. So… I don’t see him winning, although his performance as a complete monster of a man is definitely award-worthy. Lupita… well, she just broke my heart. I’m not even in a place where I can talk about her performance yet.

Would I recommend this film? I think I would, but just to adults. It will be too much for, like, 13 and 14-year olds. I had to cover my eyes during certain parts and you should go into it knowing that the violence is never exploitative and that’s what makes it so uncomfortable. This sh-t really happened. It happened for centuries. It was a holocaust, it was an extermination of generations of men and women brought to this country in chains and the least we can do is acknowledge that, and bear witness to that history. So, yes, it’s a wonderful film and I’m glad I saw it and it should win all of the awards. But I don’t really want to see it again for a long time.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

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51 Responses to “’12 Years a Slave’ review: does it live up to all of the awards hype?”

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  1. lisa2 says:

    I see young children in some of the worst R rated films with their parents. Especially those slasher ones. Nobody screams about how wrong it is. I swear I was at my nieces school once and they are 1st graders and the kids as kids do ask you a million questions. I had a couple ask me if I had seen Jason or Chuckie or SAW.. I was like WHAT..

    It all depends on the child. Some adults can’t handle things that some children can.

    I hope to see it this weekend. It is finally in my area. I know it will be a hard film to watch.. But I have to see and support it.

    • only1shmoo says:

      God, that comment just activated my deodorant! Exposing little kids to slasher films is a great way to desensitize them to, well, everything. When I was seven my dad had me watch Schindler’s List with him. My mom was livid and it’s safe to say that I was both confused and traumatized by it! I guess times have changed and kids have been numbed to violence and cruelty. I think some of these parents need a high five…across the face…with a chair (don’t judge, violence begets violence ;) )

    • MollyB says:

      A few years ago, my husband and I went to see Hotel Rwanda and seated in front of us was a woman and five kids, all under the age of 8. It was not a movie for children, at all. Not that they watched it, they mostly just ran around.

    • Shoe_Lover says:

      That pisses me off. When I was 4 my Aunt let me watch Chucky while she was babysitting me. I was terrified and my parents were livid. My Dad still steams if that movie is even mentioned and this was 23 years ago.

      My cousins husband let their 6 year old watch Jeepers Creepers and Kill Bill. She was so traumatised by Jeepers Creepers that just seeing the case in the DVD section at the shops made her cry. Watching Kill Bill made her say things like “if you’re bad I’ll pull your eye out” to her little brother.

      When I was younger people working at the movie theatre were a lot more careful. Event Horizon came out when I was 11, I don’t know if you’ve seen it but its scary and gory. My mum thought it was going to be like Aliens, which my brother and I loved, so she took us to see it. the ticket agents flat out refused to sell us the tickets and they told my Mum it wasn’t like Aliens and would be too much for us. She was so thankful that they were so responsible once she saw it

  2. Rose says:

    I don’t know if I can handle this film, I’m still recovering from watching Roots about 15 years ago.

    • Harriet says:

      +1. I need to watch it and I probably will but it I dont expect to recover! I grew up in Africa and started to read a lot of books about African civil wars and Genocide. It got to a point after the tenth book straight where I thought I was depressed! I had I start reading cheerful things. Thank god for Harry Potter.

  3. ANDREA1 says:

    You didn’t say if you think it has a short at winning the best picture award Kaiser

  4. nicole says:

    I saw the movie 2 weeks ago and I have to say this review is the only spot on review I’ve read! It truly is not something I would look forward to seeing again, but it is (to quote Franco) a work of AART. I cried and still get choked up thinking about some of the scenes. Lupita’s performance was in your face heartbreaking. Ejiofor’s performance was stoic and I truly hope to see him win an Oscar. The scene at the graveyard sealed the deal for me.

    And yes… Cumby’s curls were THAT distracting.

    • Celebitchy says:

      Yes I know what you mean. If I think about the scenes in the movie, they’re so haunting that I will tear up and get a lump in my throat. I was a mess during this movie, at one point, when they showed Solomon’s sad eyes while he was playing his violin at a “party,” I started bawling. I really hope that Ejiofor wins the Oscar and that this film gets best picture. It seems a shoe-in to me.

      I would not have seen this movie on my own, and I am so grateful to Kaiser for asking me to go. It was hard to take, but I would recommend it for anyone of age.

      • Janeite says:

        I had to fight to keep control of myself during the movie because I was afraid that if I gave full vent to my emotions during it, I wouldn’t be able to stop. Thankfully, most everyone left the theater quickly and they didn’t turn the lights up until well after the end credits so I had a chance to cry like a baby and only my mom and I were still there. I cannot even think about it now without crying. I was moved by this film in ways I never imagined.

    • lex says:

      This IS a spot on review!! I also agree with I can’t watch it again for a long time but I’m very glad that I did see it.
      After the movie, the whole audience was just quiet and you could just hear nose sniffling, including mine because I was a teary mess after the movie. It was SO moving.

  5. brin says:

    Thank you for the review (and glad to hear that you and CB are still movie buds).
    I definitely will see this movie but I know I will be doing a lot of peeping through my hands.
    Thanks for the heads up!

  6. Rhiley says:

    Kaiser,

    If you need a sweet, uplifting movie to see, do see About Time. It is a good one to see with your mum. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing it based on some of the reviews, but it beautifully shot and so well acted, I am glad I did not wait until the DVD. The main character is absolutely adorable as is Rachel McAdams. Plus, the scenery of the beaches for Cornwall are stunning. It really is the perfect Sunday afternoon movie.

  7. momoftwo says:

    I saw this movie last month at the Austin Film Festival…I feel the same about the movie.

    It was an amazing telling of this story. I cried, looked away, but it is a testament to the movie to how involved I felt in the characters (even as I was reminding myself that sadistic Michael Fassbender is not supposed to be hot)

    I loved it but also, would not see it again.

    That being said, I highly recommend it.

  8. chloe says:

    Kaiser I saw this film a few weeks ago, and I agree with your review, I walked out of the theater exhausted, I felt the movie was beautifully shot and Chitewel’s performance is definitely Oscar worthy, I especially thought he showed his chops with the few scenes where all we see is his face for several minutes, his expressions alone tells the story no words needed. I was kind of disappointed about the audience numbers, mainly 6 older couples, being in my forties I think I was the youngest attendee. I would suggest this film to any adult I know, as for children I don’t have any so I’m leaving that argument to be between the parents on the board. Entertainment Weekly had a little story about it in this week’s issue about it being the next Brokeback Mountain, which I hope they are wrong, I haven’t seen to many of the other movies that have been getting the buzz for awards yet (mainly because they haven’t been released yet) but I think I can safely say this one should get a lot of nominations.

  9. Dorothy#1 says:

    I won’t be able to see it. I can not handle these kinds of movies, I still haven’t seen Schindlers List and I only saw The Pianist after a ton of peer pressure and the scene when they throw the old man in the wheelchair off the balcony still haunts me. The cruelty of humanity is sickining.

  10. Violeta says:

    Ah finally saw it, and Lupita’s character is the one still in the back of mind and my heart aches. Give the Oscar to Chiwetel already!.. But LOL come on now, Cumberbatch performance in the film is not even in the strong or memorable links in there for a Best Supporting nod, albeit he was good. Unless you were mentioning him just for the pleasure or? ;-)

    No doubt the Best Picture, Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor/Actress nods are for the lock. As for Fassbender win/no win, one never knows he said he would be working thus why not campaigning if I recall?

    • nikko says:

      I just saw it this past weekend and it really stays with you. I found myself wondering what happen to Patsy (Lupita character). This movie is truly Oscar award winning. Chiwetel should win for Best Actor and the 2nd best (Supporting Actor) in this movie was Fassbender, he was excellent. Steve McQueen outdid himself. The scene where just Chiwetel face was shown for a minute or two and you could see the anguish was beautiful. As a black woman I didn’t come out of the movie being mad and hating white people, it was just so factual. McQueen was outstanding in being able to bring that into the movie without causing anger.

  11. Julie says:

    I didn’t like this movie at all. I thought the violence was overdone and completely unnecessary; I felt the same way about Mel Gibson’s Passion of Christ.

    Yes, slavery happened and it was unforgivable. How does it help heal the wounds of the past to see people butchered and mistreated in the present? I don’t understand why anyone enjoys seeing people of any color beaten and humiliated, and I have to wonder about people who do.

    African-American film critic Armond White called it ‘torture p0rn’ and I agree with him.

    • Diana says:

      I don’t think anyone “enjoys” seeing brutal slave narratives brought to life — frankly, kind of a weird assumption on your part. Rather, like with books and other forms of media, this is a way to bear testament to things that have happened historically. Entertainment isn’t only meant to be fluffy and fun, it can provide a serious look at who we are and where we have come from.

      I suspect this movie is also kind of a wake-up call to everyone who’s ever said “but slavery was so long ago, why should we care now?” Because American slavery was so horrific and long-lasting, that its effects reverberate massively (socially and emotionally) in today’s world. It’s worth acknowledging that it happened. That, in and of itself, can actually be healing too.

      • nicole says:

        Agree! No one here gets off on watching these horrible things. As the only white woman in the theater I went to, I can safely say no one was there to enjoy watching slaves get beat.

        It really drove home how horrible things were back then and how much further we have to go yet.

    • Naye in VA says:

      You know those scrooge like movies where the bad guy is running around carefree even though he knows he should have given his poor maid a bonus or that kid he called the cops on for crashing into his car didn’t really deserve such harsh treatment? You know how that guy has a rude awakening as the climax of the film when he gets to see FIRSTHAND how his maid could have used that bonus for her six starving kids or whatever, and the kid was actually being abused at home or something like that?
      This is why it helps to have movies that this, that depict just how gross and wrong an indelible part of the history of this country was and how it has had a long lasting effect on generation after generation. This “healing” is less about African Americans ripping off a band-aid and more about knowing that our white counterparts truly, truly, truly, understand why we feel so strongly about this issue. Im glad this movie is here so that the next generation doesn’t forget. Acknowledgement is a large part of feeling like the society you live in wants you to be a part of it. And that can’t happen in a state of denial. I don’t know if I explained that well.

    • Renee says:

      Julie,

      I understand how you feel. I usually will not watch slave films for a number of reasons, because they are triggering and traumatic, because they continue to perpetuate the association of blackness and black subjects with the abject and oppression and because it seems as though these are the only types of substantial roles available to black actors. But I decided to go to this one, for a number of reasons. It was traumatic and triggering, and I am not sure if I am glad that I went but I did feel that McQueen was able to 1) remind people of why slavery was so traumatic 2) and was able to connect it to the oppression that Black people are still experiencing that is directly linked to the TransAtlantic Slave Trade.

    • Kim1 says:

      Do you realize there are people who think Slavery wasn’t so bad? That the beatings, rapes, etc were exaggerated .That most slave owners weren’t brutal or didn’t degrade and dehumanize their”property”.My ancestors were property.So whatever was depicted in TYAS pales in comparison to what they endured.The pain I felt pales in comparison to what they experienced
      Just like the motto from the Holocaust Museum We Must Never Forget.TYAS should be shown to every high schooler IMO

    • allheavens says:

      I saw the film two weeks ago and it still lingers in my mind, Ejiofor gave a quiet but towering performance and Lupita’s Patsy was the most heartbreaking performance I’ve seen in years. Her character remains with me.

      But no matter how brutal you or Mr. White think the film was, it does not depict how truly horrific and relentlessly brutal the treatment of slaves by slave traders and their masters, not even close.

      But this is a story that needed to be told. Roots for its time and in it’s own way was revelatory but it was a “white-washed” version of history. 12 Years A Slave gives you a more accurate if not full account of 400 years of pure evil. It’s a request for understanding by all those who think African-Americans should “get over it” . Exactly how do you get over 400 years of brutality, being considered chattel and then once freed living with the constant threat of violence and 80 years of Jim Crow?

      I applaud McQueen and the cast for taking on a subject a lot, including some African-Americans would like to forget. I for one think we should never forget considering that in the world there are still people who think slavery is acceptable and it is still practiced in countries all over the world.

      • Shoe_Lover says:

        I cant watch these films, they upset me and they make me feel like I will vomit. Reading the plot on Wikipedia, specifically the whipping, was almost too much for me.

        I don’t think the slave trade is really anything that can be gotten over. the word horrible isn’t even a strong enough word for it. But slavery isn’t over, it is still happening the world over.
        Here in Australia we didn’t really have a slave trade but the aboriginals weren’t exactly well treated.

        I have heard that a lot of people didn’t like the book/film “The Help” but I think that book/movie still helped show what African Americans went through. I always thought that after the civil war things were better. I had no idea that African Americans were still living in terror of what could happen to them well into the 20th century.

        Hopefully this makes sense, I’m operating on only a couple of hours of sleep

    • seriously says:

      It is not just the past- there are more slaves in the world NOW than at any point in human history.   Look at Paula Deen et al. still trying to paint slavery as the good old days- look at people all over the world still using religion to justify hate & cruelty- Ben C’s little church service as the mother wailed for the children that he (along with others) ripped away from her- so heart breaking*.  As far as it being “torture p***”, I would posit that McQueen showed a lot of restraint because the real thing was a thousand times worse.  Read Solomon’s book- you’ll see there were even more horrors inflicted on him.  I saw an interview with Lupita on ABC a few weeks ago and she said that you’ll leave the theater wanting to hug someone, to be nicer to each other- so TRUE- as intense and horrific as is the subject matter, the film is so well done and Solomon is so inspiring.  Yes, I felt exhausted and cried, but I also felt so fortunate for my life.  Here is the Lupita interview:
      http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/10/lupita-nyongo-12-years-a-slave-is-history-in-the-making/

      * also, look at Travon.  Look at the Supreme Court gutting the voting rights act and ASAP several states put new voting laws on the books that look to restrict minority/poor voting.  So, no, it is not the past.  As Brad said in an interview, slavery is in our DNA- we can’t fix these horrors unless we are honest about them to start with- turning a blind eye helps no one.

    • Nick says:

      Armond White is a contrarian critic. He notices the consensus of most every film he reviews and then he takes the opposite position. It’s his schtick. Not to be taken seriously.

  12. ag-UK says:

    I saw it in October at the BFI was really good and I thought I’d be more emotional sobbing like a crazy person but I didn’t, it had parts that made me teary and I can cry at a drop of a hat and parts that I got really angry but as I knew what to expect going in I was sort of prepared well as prepared as you can try to be. Cumberbatch not in it enough to warrant any sort of nomination he did look good.

  13. Bex says:

    I saw this movie last week. There was so much hype and expectation. I’m a massive Chewitel fan so I was even more hyped. I loved it, hated it for what it did to my head but loved it and I’ve carried it around in my head…still processing. Kudos to the people who filmed it and committed to bringing it to the screen. That couldn’t have been a walk in the park.

    I’m glad I saw it but there’s no way I’m signing up for that emotional journey for awhile again!
    See it. Take tissues.

  14. davidbowie says:

    I went to see it on Friday. It is an excellent movie and one I will probably not watch again in a long, long time.

  15. Abby says:

    I saw this about a month ago, and I would see it again, for sure. I think because I had read so much about the realistic portrayal of violence before I went it, I didn’t find it shocking or disturbing. And I usually have a very low tolerance for violence. For me, the overwhelming emotion I had was heartbreak. Because no matter what act of violence was happening on screen, if you focus on the anguish on the actors faces that’s a million times worse than the actual act of violence. CE and LN in particular smashed my heart into 1000 pieces, but really everyone. It broke my heart and made me mad that this happened and that in some places in the world it is still happening.

    • Ruth Dunbar says:

      Thanks for this comment. This was also my experience. I had already read about the depiction of violence and how they shot those scenes, so I wasn’t surprised in that regard. Like you, I what I experienced most throughout the film was heartbreak. I don’t want to say too much out of consideration for the folks who haven’t seen the movie yet, but the sense of hope that Solomon still had throughout the years, despite the hopeless circumstances, that is what struck me the most.

      • Abby says:

        “The sense of hope”- I couldn’t agree more. That killed me inside. The ending killed me (I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say this since it’s 12 Years a Slave). It was overwhelming joy and happiness for Solomon, but you know he will never be the same and so many were never going to get a good ending. But Solomon’s sense of hope and dignity throughout the movie really got under my skin.

  16. GeeMoney says:

    Oh man… the pics of Fassy and Cumby on this thread are so hot. Droooool…

    12 Years a Slave – hard to watch, but worth all of the acclaim. I hope Chiwetel wins the Best Actor trophy at the Oscars.

  17. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I’m crying from reading these comments. Not sure I can handle the movie.

  18. bros says:

    I posted on the Franco post a week or so ago, but I saw it and thought it was awful. The main character felt more like a plot device than an actual character with character development and someone with whom audiences could identify in terms of his pain. there were no physical changes that went along with his 12 year ordeal, besides the requisite back scaring,but physical labor like that and mental anguish does something to a person’s physicality, and the director ignored that completely, side from some grey hairs here and there. Nor did I feel at the end that Solomon was either a broken man, or that he retained his humanity and faith. he was just a plot device. Brad pitt from canada with a southern accent was terrible, as well as a facile neoliberal plot device, the dialogue was incredibly stilted, and it was just an inelegant sledgehammer of social commentary by a lazy director. thinking of deeply affecting movies that are still violent and have a point to make and are emotionally devastating, like the thin red line, crash, precious, or requiem for a dream, or In America. Or even the same actor in dirty pretty things, which was so good!

    It appears i’m in the minority, which I’m fine with, but I felt it was lazy and amateurish. The soundtrack and sound mixing was great, and so was the cinematography. Fassbender was great and it’s a testament to his acting that he didnt fall prey to looking like a caricature, which he easily could have, and which I felt solomon did.

  19. Abie says:

    I almost never leave comments but I’m so glad to see a review for this film on here. The movie was amazing and I feel filled some gaps in America’s understanding of what actually happened during slavery. I grew up in a British colony and our history class gave us the nitty gritty and horrid details of slavery. By the age of 13 we all knew exactly what slavery entailed right down to the tiny details. When I moved to the US and married my sweet Midwestern husband I was surprised to learn he didn’t learn about slavery the same way I did and I think that bit of ignorance may have contributed to some of the race issues in America. But that’s another conversation for another time. As a black woman married to a white man and raising mixed race children I felt it was important for my husband and I to see this movie together. When our children are older I want them to see it as well. When I learned about slavery as a child and saw the things they showed us in history class I didn’t walk away angry at anyone or laying blame at anyone’s door. Instead I walked away feeling awe and amazement to know I came from a people who survived so much. When I look at my husband and our children I feel so happy to know from a history full of so much pain and hate came us. The two sides are one and our history is now combined and exist in our children.

    The movie was fantastic and the random nature scenes showing swamps, trees, etc gave the viewer a mental rest and a chance to catch their breath and meditate on what we had just seen. This movie deserves as many awards as they can give it and hopefully everyone will see it at least once. Ok enough of my ramblings. Thanks again for posting a review on an amazing movie.

  20. Janeite says:

    Excellent review, Kaiser. I saw this movie 2 weekends ago and cannot get it out of my head. It is a very difficult movie to watch but one that needs to be seen. This actually happened and the legacy of slavery in this country is one that will continue to resonate for a long, long time because of its sheer brutality and inhumanity.

    The acting is superb and if Chiwetel Ejiofor does not win an Oscar, there is something wrong with the Academy. HIs eyes still haunt me. All of the performances are remarkable actually.

    The audience in the show I saw was interesting. There were 3 small infants under 1 year of age as well as a young boy who appeared to be 8 or 9. Waaay too young. I’m an adult and I could barely handle it. Also, Thor was showing on the screen right next door and the sound was way too loud.

    My mom and I had to stay until the lights came on at the very end of the credits because it took us a while to get ourselves together. If you do see this movie, don’t go it alone. You will need someone to talk to afterwards.

  21. Virgilia Coriolanus says:

    I saw this movie about a week ago, and my heart just broke. I’ve never been so affected by a film before–and I’m someone who can watch Schindler’s List every day. Chiwetel was so good. There were parts in the movie where he just looked like he was deteriorating from the inside out. If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought that he was actually dying, because his face was going greyish. Lupita and Michael!! My God, those two had to be a team to get through those scenes. He played Epps so well that every time he came on screen (especially with Patsy), I would cringe. His character gave me the creeps. Every time he went near Patsy I would tense up. And I started crying when he whipped Patsy–and the scene afterwards, when they’re cleaning her off. She just lays there, shakes, and screams. God.

    My only quibble was Brad–but he wasn’t as bad as I expected. By no means am I a non fan of Brad’s acting work–it was his accent. It’s too jarring–especially in a film where almost all of the main actors have different accents–Chiwetel-British, Michael-Irish/German, Lupita-Kenyan, and so he shows up sounding like Brad Pitt. Which doesn’t work in a movie like this. But it wasn’t as jarring in the film, as it was in the trailer. So I thought everyone did good.

    I hope it wins EVERYTHING–I especially want to see the Brange at the Oscars. And what Lupita’s wearing.

  22. grayze says:

    Movies like this need to exist. I *know* that they do, because I teach college courses, and this is a sampling of what I hear from my students when we discuss slavery and race issues in modern America:

    “Yeah, but that happened a long time ago.”
    “I don’t know why people can be mad about anything they didn’t actually experience.”
    “Yeah, but what happened back then doesn’t influence anything going on now.”

    The cruelty of humanity – the sort of cruelty that we see in slavery, in the Holocaust, in genocides – doesn’t just pop out of nowhere like some kind of monstrous gremlin. It’s built piece by piece by a thousand small evils and a thousand small moments of indifference. To me, any movie that can shock people from their complacency, or that can open their eyes to the truth of what it was like (and therefore why it should and does still matter) needs to be made, needs to be seen, needs to be a part of our film history.

    • Anon says:

      Excellent post, Grayze! I too teach college classes, and I too have heard these comments and more. No matter how long I spend talking about the extent and horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, there are those who just do not grasp the magnitude. Perhaps even more disturbing is that nearly every semester I have a student who approaches me in amazement because they learned a very simplistic, “benign” version of slavery in high school and had no idea “how bad it really was.” I’ll be showing this film in class as soon as it is available.

    • LadySlippers says:

      Could not agree with you more Grayze.

      We are ALL products of our past — whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.

  23. Anna says:

    This film was great!! The most horrifying parts for me was when the backs of the slaves were shown, in particular Lupita.. I could barely look at those parts.
    At the theatre I saw it in, there were a lot of people like CB, saying things like “she’s such a bitch” LOL
    I hope the cast and crew are nominated for several oscars!

    btw I never find Benedict attractive, but he looked beautiful in this movie haha

  24. Camille (TheOriginal) says:

    Haven’t seen this film yet, but it is definitely on my ‘must see’ list. Going by the comments that I have read about this film so far, it sounds like it should win everything- so here is hoping that is does.

  25. Miss Scarlet says:

    I’m so relieved to hear that somebody else found Cumberbatch beautiful to the point of being distracting – I thought I was just being a crazy Cumberbitch, but the makeup team really did seem to go out of their way to make Curly Fu look his absolute best. His skin was so perfect! His hair was so shiny! Everybody else looked like their normal selves, but I swear Cumby glowed.

  26. V says:

    Actually, the fact that the film makes people uncomfortable is also the reason it’s not likely to win Oscars. The Oscars, in general, tend to shy away from these type of films and if there’s a lighter, more “repeatable” (as in repeat viewings) film or actor in the same category, the lighter fare is the better Oscar bet. It doesn’t always happen this way, but that is the way they’ve voted for most of the history of the Oscars.