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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 847 Ratings

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  1. Negative: 78 out of 847

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  1. Jun 25, 2014
    8
    Prior to watching this: No comment here.
    Review:
    Pros: Powerful story. Great acting all around.
    Cons: It may be a great film, but you may not enjoy it.
    4/5 - It's worth paying to watch it in the cinema.
  2. Jul 4, 2014
    4
    All dramas need a conflict and a resolution (Resolution doesn't have to be final, it can be a setup for a new conflict). After "12 Years a Slave" has set up a conflict, it just is. And the worst part of it is that it actually has no resolution - the ending is a lousy cheat. It feels like Steve McQueen has forgotten the differences between a drama and a documentary. Shame.
  3. Sep 25, 2014
    0
    This is the most boring film I have seen in many years. Too loud a soundtrack, poor and indistinct diction, no story line, wooden acting, and filled with unnecessarily graphic violence. The film appears to have been made purely to shock the audience, whereas this viewer simply found the whole film a waste of time, and wishing he was anywhere but in the cinema. Not an experience I wouldThis is the most boring film I have seen in many years. Too loud a soundtrack, poor and indistinct diction, no story line, wooden acting, and filled with unnecessarily graphic violence. The film appears to have been made purely to shock the audience, whereas this viewer simply found the whole film a waste of time, and wishing he was anywhere but in the cinema. Not an experience I would wish to repeat. Expand
  4. Jan 15, 2014
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. For his next project, the big shot Hollywood director(in Sullivan's Travels) aspires to make a "message film" about the poor, but in the process, ends up demeaning the underprivileged class when he goes undercover dressed in hobo apparel as research for an adaptation of O Brother Where Art Thou, a dramatic piece that the studio hack is ill-suited for, since his filmography consists of profitable, but mostly forgettable comedies. In stark contrast to his lightweight oeuvre, John Sullivan suddenly develops a conscious; he wants to experience "the real world", a world he knows next-to-nothing about. Solomon Northup, albeit an imperfect analogue to John Sullivan, arguably, undergoes a similar journey. After all, how much did a free Negro have in common with a slave? The progressive north of 12 Years a Slave, where a black man and his family could walk down any street without hassle, doesn't at all resemble the real world, but more like the 19th century of some parallel universe. When Solomon wakes up, shackled, in a darkened cell, after two men, alleged circus promoters, the night prior, laces the fiddle player's wine with a sedative, it recalls the same topsy-turvy scenario that befalls John, who, after flaunting his wealth to the wrong hobo, from a boxcar, rouses from his incapacitated state and ends up becoming a slave to the state, just another felon in a chain gang, a prosperous man made anonymous. Sheltered entertainers both, skin color is the lone prevailing trait that the filmmaker and violinist have in common with their respective people. Despite being black, Solomon is separated by class. The bourgeois Negro, following his vicious indoctrination to the south, with a bloodied backside, kicks away the plate of slop laid down by his captor, an instinct predicated on upbringing and self-image, the same factors that compel John and the "The Girl" to reject the food they're served at a soup kitchen. When a fellow kidnappee counsels Solomon on their unlawful predicament, the musician speaks as if he lives in a vacuum, telling the other prisoner, "I don't want to survive. I want to live." Well, so would his southern counterparts. This sociological differentiation rears itself most prominently on the cotton plantation, in a scene where Patsey, the slave whom Master Epps fixes himself erotically on, requests that Solomon help assist her in suicide, down by the river. With unintended hubris, he asks Patsey, "How can you fall in such despair?" Sure, being a slave for twelve years is cruel, but it's a sentence that pales in comparison to a lifetime of indentured servitude. "God forgives merciful acts," ensures Patsey, who needs to convince Solomon that the perceived transgression is not a sin. God, always an abstract and malleable construct, according to Patsey, sees Negroes as people, not property, whereas in The Birth of a Nation, it's the latter, since God's cameo has the effect of sanctioning Flora's self-propelling dive from the cliff as, in Patsey's own words, "a merciful act", a suicide without biblical retribution, because her pursuant, a Negro, who in accordance with the film's ideology, would certainly have raped her. Solomon, never one to participate in Negro spirituals while working Master Epps' cotton fields, finally relents at a slave funeral. No more airs. The man who once told a hysterical mother to stop mourning so audibly for her children, realizes, at long last, that he is just another n****r. As an aficionado of high art, Solomon, undoubtedly, would not be caught dead singing "Roll, Jordan Roll" back home in New York amongst his white friends. But this is not the south that Ashley Wilkes waxes poetically about in Gone with the Wind. "The high soft Negro laughter from the quarter," that he yearns for would be hard to hear over Patsey's screaming when Epps nearly whips the life out of her. In a film about slavery, there must be blood, serious blood, not puerile blood, like the Grand Guignol spectacle in Django Unchained. But to Tarantino's credit, the film does foreground the reactionary ideas behind the 1939 David O. Selznick epic, since Dr. King Schultz plays like an update of Rhett Butler, the blockade runner, who, unlike the bounty hunter, never develops a conscience about the slave trade after years of profiteering from it. The flashbacks of the runaway mandingo fighter being torn apart by dogs are Schultz's. With a start, we realize that his enlightened attitude towards Negroes was part of his role. He then breaks character; he won't shake Monsieur Candie's hand. When the faux dentist shoots him, he allows himself to be gunned down without a fight, as penance for being part of the problem; for simply being there, like Bass, Solomon's patron, who accepts payment in full for services rendered as a carpenter from slave owners. Although Bass can't shoot Epps, put Patsey on a horse, or blow up the plantation, he can write a letter. Expand
  5. Nov 22, 2013
    9
    It's the most tense 2 hours I've spent in a movie in a long time, and the angriest. To hell with white guilt, what about human guilt? We learn again that all humans need to do to become monsters is to consider another human to be not one. It's been our evil legacy since we stood upright, the ape genes we cannot seem to rid ourselves of. What strikes close to home for me is that our ownIt's the most tense 2 hours I've spent in a movie in a long time, and the angriest. To hell with white guilt, what about human guilt? We learn again that all humans need to do to become monsters is to consider another human to be not one. It's been our evil legacy since we stood upright, the ape genes we cannot seem to rid ourselves of. What strikes close to home for me is that our own history is as full of vileness as was the Nazi period, the Pol Pot period, Mao and Stalin's, Idi Amin's, with the difference being that it lasted for 300 odd years in our not to distant past.
    The movie has no gratuitous violence, no one dimensional characters, no political correctness. Just truth.
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  6. Feb 28, 2014
    10
    My wife and I ended up watching this movie pretty much on a whim after hearing a few things, and it turns out that that was a great move. The movie is quit good, so if you're on the fence for whatever reason it's an entertaining, sad, and eye-opening movie worth your time.
  7. Nov 5, 2013
    9
    Chiwetel Ejiofor delivers a stunning performance as a free black man, who's abducted into pre-Civil-War slavery. He manages to hold onto his hope and dignity, while enduring horrendous cruelties, both mental and physical. The cast is full of outstanding performances with Michael Fassbender and newcomer Lupita Nyong'o delivering memorable moments. Director Steve McQueen has incredibleChiwetel Ejiofor delivers a stunning performance as a free black man, who's abducted into pre-Civil-War slavery. He manages to hold onto his hope and dignity, while enduring horrendous cruelties, both mental and physical. The cast is full of outstanding performances with Michael Fassbender and newcomer Lupita Nyong'o delivering memorable moments. Director Steve McQueen has incredible skills for observation and visual artistry. Every image is beautiful. Despite the stifling oppression and unflinching violence, there's a certain detachment that renders the outcome more observation than experience. Still, this is a masterpiece of cinematic skill and a story that's all the more incredible because it's true. Expand
  8. Mar 20, 2014
    9
    The film's raw textures and brutal imagery fit McQueen's proverbial bill; the only thing more transcendent than the film's story are the acting performances that make it so much more hard-hitting. It's not for the faint of heart, and it wastes very little time getting into detail. If you are familiar with McQueen's other outings, you can imagine that a historical film about slavery won'tThe film's raw textures and brutal imagery fit McQueen's proverbial bill; the only thing more transcendent than the film's story are the acting performances that make it so much more hard-hitting. It's not for the faint of heart, and it wastes very little time getting into detail. If you are familiar with McQueen's other outings, you can imagine that a historical film about slavery won't be all peaches and cream, which some people (clearly) have a hard time digesting. And that's okay, but this is a responsible, balanced film that deserves anyone and everyone's due diligence to view it from the perspective of a historian and not a critic. The statement it makes is going to be there - no matter what - for a movie about slavery. Instead of getting hung up on this notion, immerse yourself in the film and give it every last bit of attention you can give; it's not worth wasting your time otherwise. Expand
  9. Oct 5, 2014
    8
    12 Years a Slave is an interesting film that educates us upon just how dark a past we humans have. The movie is extremely well acted and sometimes uncomfortably emotive. Two specific annoyances , though; the director's unnecessary use of over-long static camera shots (We get the point! We don't need to be bashed over the head!) and very famous actors cropping up and breaking immersion12 Years a Slave is an interesting film that educates us upon just how dark a past we humans have. The movie is extremely well acted and sometimes uncomfortably emotive. Two specific annoyances , though; the director's unnecessary use of over-long static camera shots (We get the point! We don't need to be bashed over the head!) and very famous actors cropping up and breaking immersion (Oooooh... It's Brad Pitt). These points aside, 12 Years a Slave is great. Expand
  10. Nov 12, 2013
    10
    "12 Years a Slave" strips the hollywood gloss from America's most disgraceful period, McQueen's realist direction and the cast's awards-worthy performances capturing the horror and bleakness of the life of a slave that is altogether required viewing.
  11. Nov 25, 2013
    10
    I was unaware of the practice of kidnapping free blacks and selling them into slavery in the South... just another charming factoid about America's era of slavery. A little spiritual preparation for this film is a good idea. Also, try to hit a matinée, so you have time to decompress afterward.
  12. Mar 13, 2014
    6
    I was quite disappointed by this film. Steve McQueen fails once again to illicit any empathy for his characters. The screenplay is sporadic and choppy. Visually it's common. The one thing is that the actors rise above the material. The performances are capable. The direction lacks passion.
  13. Dec 2, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I'm glad Steve McQueen has the mentality that he has, as seen in Hunger and Shame. He, like Lars Von Trier, aren't afraid and won't hold back. This pattern is seen here again, which leaves an everlasting memory of the harsh reality faced by Solomon Northup. Great performances all around. Just amazing filmmaking, the whole team, all around. Sean Bobbitt with the great eye as well. The long takes, especially with Ejiofor hanging by the noose, wow. Nice editing. Expand
  14. Feb 11, 2014
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. 12 Years a Slave is a powerful film that is brilliantly unflinching and impeccably made and may possibly be the most raw, real and accurate slavery films to come out in recent years (or maybe even ever). With fantastic acting from its amazing cast, brilliant and realistic set-design and an awe-inspiring original score by Hans Zimmer; this film is much more than the average Oscar-bait flick. The film, unfortunately, has its flaws; the fact that years were going by wasn't really illustrated properly, actors looked exactly the same as years went by and that felt very unrealistic to me and I also would have liked a more emotional reunion between Solomon and his family. In the end, 12 Years a Slave is a film that definitely needs to be seen, it is not perfect, but it is worth the watch. Expand
  15. Mar 22, 2014
    7
    Powerful movie. But how could it not be? It's about slavery and thats going to be heavy. Acted very well. Fassbender is like you've never seen him before. Lupita was great but a bit overrated. You know what your getting your self into when you see this movie.
  16. Feb 17, 2014
    10
    Steve Mcqueen has paid a tribute to all the people in chains whose stories were lost in the dust of history. The horror of slavery has been shown in its full. Brilliant acting by all the cast.
  17. Sep 2, 2014
    10
    Disturbing and violent--12 Years a Slave is far frome easy to view. Nevertheless, this film is something that each and every American owes themselves to see. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o shine bright in such a dark world.
  18. Mar 8, 2014
    8
    Personally, I thought the ending was pretty much predictable, but other than, the movie really stands out. The acting is fantastic, the movie is powerful and tragic, and even though the film is not an absolute masterpiece, it is definitely a must-see.
  19. Dec 1, 2013
    9
    These films about this subject matter always seem to have the same tone and plot markers, which is the reason I did not give it a full "10" score. Other than that, I feel the film easily transports you to this era and a glimpse of real events. Sympathy, anger, empathy all rolled together at one time. Perhaps even shock, despite the lack of gore and blood. Left me thinking and that is aThese films about this subject matter always seem to have the same tone and plot markers, which is the reason I did not give it a full "10" score. Other than that, I feel the film easily transports you to this era and a glimpse of real events. Sympathy, anger, empathy all rolled together at one time. Perhaps even shock, despite the lack of gore and blood. Left me thinking and that is a good mark of a good film. Expand
  20. Feb 25, 2014
    7
    Nel 1841, Solomon Northup viene rapito a New York, dove vive libero assieme alla famiglia e si guadagna da vivere suonando il violino, e viene deportato come schiavo negli Stati del sud, in crisi di manodopera per le difficoltà sulle rotte negriere dall'Africa. Per raccontarne il lungo incubo prima di ritrovare la libertà, l'inglese Steve McQueen cambia alcune coordinate del suo fareNel 1841, Solomon Northup viene rapito a New York, dove vive libero assieme alla famiglia e si guadagna da vivere suonando il violino, e viene deportato come schiavo negli Stati del sud, in crisi di manodopera per le difficoltà sulle rotte negriere dall'Africa. Per raccontarne il lungo incubo prima di ritrovare la libertà, l'inglese Steve McQueen cambia alcune coordinate del suo fare cinema e, quasi a volerlo far intendere subito, utilizza più di una parola nel titolo: si tratta di un film più corale rispetto ai precedenti, che sono dedicati allo scavo psicologico di un solo personaggio, non c’è Fassbender come protagonista assoluto e, soprattutto, la scrittura è affidata a qualcun altro. E’ difatti di John Ridley la sceneggiatura costruita sulle memorie di Northup – che sapeva leggere e scrivere, anche se fu costretto a nasconderlo nei suoi anni di schiavitù – finendo però per essere l'anello debole del lavoro: pur non essendo in nessun punto davvero piatta, la storia non sorprende davvero mai e rende meno efficace l'impatto complessivo. Impatto che, invece, beneficia dell'accuratissimo lavoro della regia sull'immagine: se McQueen conferma la sua bravura nel costruire le inquadrature filmando un profondo sud opprimente dal punto di vista fisico e psicologico (il direttore della fotografia è il fido Sean Bobbitt), il regista inglese dà il meglio di sé nella rappresentazione della fisicità umana, in perfetta continuità con le sue opere precedenti. Si tratta di corpi sofferenti, con in primo piano piaghe sulla pelle che riflettono quelle dell'anima, e di volti che non si vergognano di esprimere i sentimenti – come dice esplicitamente Eliza in una delle tante scene in cui si piange come fontane – raccontando i pensieri che stanno dentro gli sguardi. L'orrore infinito della schiavitù sta nella sgradevolezza dei personaggi interpretati, in piccole ma significative parti, da Paul Dano e Paul Giamatti, oltre che nella gelida cattiveria della signora Epps di Sarah Paulson: se pare vacillare la coscienza di Ford, il primo padrone di Solomon - Benedict Cumberbatch esce di scena troppo presto -, la ferocia del secondo, Epps, la compensa abbondantemente. Nei suoi scomodi panni, l'attore preferito di McQueen, cioè Fassbender, disegna con grande profondità il ritratto di un uomo apparentemente senza sentimenti, violento con più di una punta di sadismo e alcolizzato, rubando se non la scena quantomeno l'attenzione rispetto al resto del cast: ne è testimonianza, fra le altre, la lunga sequenza – girata senza interruzioni con la macchina da presa che segue gli attori – della fustigazione di Patsey. A tener testa a cotanta interpretazione, c’è quella di Chiwetel Ejiofor nel ruolo del protagonista: l'attore inglese, sulle prime dubbioso, coglie al meglio l'occasione della vita rendendo con efficacia prima lo spaesamento di Solomon e poi la sua determinazione a uscire dalla trappola in cui l'hanno ficcato senza piegare (troppo) la testa. Accanto a lui, si fanno ricordare in special modo due figure di donna di una tragicità se possibile crescente, ovvero l’Eliza di Adepero Oduye e la Patsey dell'esordiente Lupita Nyong’o, la cui addolorata performance le ha ben meritato la nomination all'Oscar (corrono per la statuetta anche Fassbender ed Ejiofor, oltre al film e al regista). Piccola, ma decisiva per la liberazione di Northup, è invece la parte di Brad Pitt, che però compare nella lunga lista dei produttori, a testimonianza del fatto che lo sforzo realizzativo è stato notevole per quello che, a tutti gli effetti, è un ‘filmone’: eppure, malgrado la meritoria denuncia (non va dimenticato che la schiavitù esiste ancora), la notevole partecipazione di tutti quanti, le emozioni comunque suscitate anche grazie alla colonna sonora di Hans Zimmer alternata ai canti di lavoro nelle piantagioni, ’12 anni schiavo’ fatica a colpire nel profondo. Per carità, si tratta sempre di un film che sta tra il buono e l'ottimo, ma forse il fatto che sia tutto chiaro ed esplicito rende impossibili gli angoli bui e i momenti indefiniti che congiurano perchè, ad esempio, una pellicola pur non perfetta come ‘Shame’ si piazzi nell'animo dello spettatore e cresca con il passare del tempo. Expand
  21. Mar 19, 2014
    8
    It's a painful, two-hour punch in the gut. You won't enjoy it but you have to see it. As a work of art it deserves a full 10; I'm giving it an 8 because, as a film, it could use a tighter story and a more compelling lead character.
  22. Jan 2, 2015
    10
    A powerful (at times overwhelming) drama of perseverance and redemption. Chiwetel Ejiofor is stunning. Steve McQueen's best, most feeling work. His focus on suffering (present in all his films) is likely too difficult for many, but 12 Years a Slave goes farther than some of his past films.
  23. Nov 11, 2013
    10
    Every so often, there comes a film that is so grotesque, so brutal in its depiction on the degradation of the human spirit and the treatment of human beings, that it’s almost impossible to ignore. 12 Years a Slave is that movie. The film is a harrowingly real nightmare of a film.

    Despite its relentlessly violent and disturbing content, the film is a must watch. The beauty of a film
    Every so often, there comes a film that is so grotesque, so brutal in its depiction on the degradation of the human spirit and the treatment of human beings, that it’s almost impossible to ignore. 12 Years a Slave is that movie. The film is a harrowingly real nightmare of a film.

    Despite its relentlessly violent and disturbing content, the film is a must watch. The beauty of a film titled 12 Years A Slave, is it’s straightforwardness and self-aware narration. Like so many movies before it, this remarkable tale of Solomon Northup’s unbelievable journey of survival, may not be familiar from the character names, but the story shares many narrative arcs of other slavery driven melodramas. Fortunately for us, 12 Years a Slave breaks its cliché stigma thanks simply to one of the greatest living directors working today, Steve McQueen. McQueen, an enigmatic British story teller, has had indie success since his riveting Hunger and more importantly, the sadly overlooked Shame. Having an incredible visual understanding as well as dramatically perverse eye, McQueen captures an unapologetic and extraordinary film of the tackle of evil, and the eventual glory of justice.

    12 Years a Slave is a film based heavily off of Solomon Northup’s memoir Twelve Years A Slave. Gestating from Solomon’s life as an acclaimed violinist, to the cruel unwilling insertion of Solomon to slavery in the Deep South, the film takes very little liberties of Northup’s brave literary piece. Chronicling Solomon’s decade plus of slavery, from plantation overseers to slave owners, and all the people that he meets in-between, Northup the man, and the character, is truly a testament to the extent of the human spirt and the marvel of selfishness and tolerance.

    Slavery is a subject that cannot be ignored when flipping through the pages of history books, especially American history. As sad as it is to admit, slavery is just as much a part of learning of the past as glory and success is. The thing about the subject of slavery when it comes to the film medium is that audiences already know what to expect; lashings, whippings, lynching, sexual and physical abuse, injustice and unexplainable cruelty. The difference between knowing these facts and seeing them on the screen, is the emotional response the poetic visuals provide. Like any spectacular painting, this moving piece of art is like any paint-to-canvas product, more stunning and hypnotizing the longer you stare at it.

    Many could argue that 12 Years A Slave is an overly dramatized, artsy recantation of a man’s struggle to freedom. From grueling, neck-breaking long takes, to several extreme close ups, to musically laden chants, the film is a fine piece of cinematic showcasing for its director and many talented individuals involved. 12 Years A Slave is, without a doubt, McQueen‘s most commercial work. But do not get discouraged, because unlike so many talented directors in the past to substitute commercial success with artificial, flaky pieces of cinema, McQueen uses his talent to attract one of the film’s most talented qualities, its cast.

    Unflinching and naturally statuesque is Chiwetel Ejiofor, who will no doubt get some Oscar recognition, and perhaps even a win for his enslaving portrayal of Solomon Northup. Ejiofor inhabits a passion of previous confident actors in his role as Northup similar to that of Poiteir, Washington and Redford. From the start of McQueen’s body of work, one of the most noticeable and gratifying similarity all three lead males share, is the control and power of their gaze. From Michael Fassbender in Hunger and Shame, and now to Ejiofor in 12 Years, Ejiofor and McQueen create a fiery, personal relationship of gazes and stares that act as another character for audience members to empathize with. Whether it be on a train, hungrily undressing a redhead in the opening scene of Shame, to a hopeful yet empty stare into the humid swamps of the South, it is in these simplistic stares and silent revelations where we weep, we cry, and we feel an immense sorrow for a man stripped of everything.

    Along with Ejiofor and also destined for Oscar recognition is Lupita Nyong’o. Accepting and willing to succumb to death rather than live a life of slavey and the apple of her owner Edwin Epps’ (Michael Fassbender) affection, Nyong’o delivers in a way that could only be best described as classical and timeless; a way that only Jane Eyre enthusiasts could comprehend.
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  24. May 9, 2014
    9
    Steve Mcqueen's "Shame" didn't make much sense but "12 Years A Slave" is beautifully made, which tells a heart wrenching story during dark days of American history. Sean Bobbit's camera work is truly beautiful.
  25. Feb 19, 2014
    6
    It's hard to find a flaw in "12 Years at Slave" is well directed, great photography, well-acted, but by his premise, can say I expected a more sweeping film, the heart beats a little too weak.
  26. Nov 12, 2013
    9
    12 years a slave, truly a masterpiece worthy of multiple Oscar nominations if not wins!
    Amazing acting by all actors and actresses, I'm not gonna lie. I'm a bit disappointed in how, Brad Pitt had less than 10 minutes of screen time. None the less, amazing cinematography and use of colour. Every second of this movie looked as if it could be a professional portrait. A must see movie.
    12 years a slave, truly a masterpiece worthy of multiple Oscar nominations if not wins!
    Amazing acting by all actors and actresses, I'm not gonna lie. I'm a bit disappointed in how, Brad Pitt had less than 10 minutes of screen time. None the less, amazing cinematography and use of colour. Every second of this movie looked as if it could be a professional portrait. A must see movie. One of this years best!
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  27. Jan 19, 2014
    8
    Chiwetel Ejiofor is an actor I've been a fan of for some time now. I first took notice of him in Serenity, then was quite pleased with his performances in Children of Men, Redbelt, and Salt. 12 Years a Slave shows us just how talent his is. Through him we see joy, contentment, fear, horror, hate, anger, reluctance, hopelessness, and gratitude. He will be remembered as one of the greats.Chiwetel Ejiofor is an actor I've been a fan of for some time now. I first took notice of him in Serenity, then was quite pleased with his performances in Children of Men, Redbelt, and Salt. 12 Years a Slave shows us just how talent his is. Through him we see joy, contentment, fear, horror, hate, anger, reluctance, hopelessness, and gratitude. He will be remembered as one of the greats.

    Like many have said this is a very brutally honest depiction of life as a slave. It's truly horrible and Solomon's journey shows us a range of different he encounters. Amongst those who 'own' him we see truly evil people, opportunists, kind-hearted slavers and cruel slavers. Amongst his fellow slaves we see people who are helpful, selfish, indifferent, and traumatized. Through him we experience the worst of human nature and indifference to the suffering of others.

    Solomon's ordeal shows us that even as a slave not everyone (but almost) enjoyed treating African slaves as property to do with as they wished, and were barely human. This story serves as a reminder of how far Western civilization has come today, when compared to the rapid industrialist expansion which caused slavery of Africans to begin. Through this story we're able to see that social justice is of utmost importance.
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  28. Mar 4, 2014
    6
    The only people i hate on this Earth are the racists! Everybody have to watch this movie and see how evil,gross and stupid people were at that time! GREAT actors, poor editing and a little over-rated though... this movie is going to make you cry and THAT'S ALL! Nothing else... based on a true story
  29. Jan 25, 2014
    9
    Very powerful movie. It was extremely well done but very hard to watch. Ejiofor's preformance was incrediable and Fassbender's performance as a cruel slave owner makes you cringe. The ending was heart breaking and happy at the same time. I recommend this movie for anybody who will be able to watch them. It's hard but it's worth it.
  30. Jan 2, 2014
    9
    12 Years a Slave is an exceptional film and a triumph of modern storytelling. The movie easily could have turned out to be nothing but "oscar-bait", but the extremely talented visionary director Steve McQueen never allows this to happen and turns this into one of the most powerful,unflinching films in recent memory.This film is every bit as brutal as his previous two features Shame and12 Years a Slave is an exceptional film and a triumph of modern storytelling. The movie easily could have turned out to be nothing but "oscar-bait", but the extremely talented visionary director Steve McQueen never allows this to happen and turns this into one of the most powerful,unflinching films in recent memory.This film is every bit as brutal as his previous two features Shame and Hunger, and it is never afraid to go the extra mile to show us the atrocities of slavery and human suffering. The cinematography is rich, and the performances are outstanding most notably from Ejiofor and Fassbender who truly immerse themselves in their roles. 12 Years a Slave earns my highest praise, it is an incredible movie and very much worth at least one viewing.I can't give it any less than a 9/10. Expand
  31. Jun 8, 2014
    9
    Very powerful and it definitely deserves all the praise and awards. A truly real, well crafted, extraordinary piece of cinema, though it may be a hard watch with the racial themes. I love how director Steve Mcqueen can capture a very lengthy shot and make it so powerful and grand in his movies. This movie is epic and well acted.
  32. Jan 5, 2014
    10
    12 Years A Slave is one of the most heartbreaking but engrossing movies I have ever seen. With some of the most emotional performances ever seen by Chiwetel Ejiorfor and Lupita Nyong'o. Fassbender was equally as great also. I'm calling it right now that Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress all go to this film. Proud to say that it is the first movie to ever make me cry.
  33. Jan 4, 2014
    10
    One of the darkest chapters in American history has never been brought so impeccably to the screen. ‘12 Years a Slave’ tells the story of Solomon Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor; a free black man living in Saratoga Springs, New York in the 1840’s. Residing in a relatively progressive community, the man leads an upstanding life with his wife and two kids; and works as a skilled fiddlerOne of the darkest chapters in American history has never been brought so impeccably to the screen. ‘12 Years a Slave’ tells the story of Solomon Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor; a free black man living in Saratoga Springs, New York in the 1840’s. Residing in a relatively progressive community, the man leads an upstanding life with his wife and two kids; and works as a skilled fiddler and carpenter. Such a privileged life; as this is decades prior to America’s emancipation proclamation, and much of the blacks are still at the whims of white slavers. Upon meeting and celebrating with two men over a business venture; the men drug Solomon and sell him into slavery down South, where he experiences a true American Horror Story. Well; Benedict Cumberbatch as his first master, William Ford, was a very reasonable man; but “still a slave owner”, as one slave rightfully puts it. Being born in the wrong circumstances seemed true where Ford is concerned, as he was indeed a kind man; but the arrival of Michael Fassbender’s Edwin Epps, Northup’s second master; showed that blatant cruelty does exist in the hearts of some men. Evil incarnate, Epps rule over his “property” with an iron fist; and threatens his wife by striking up a complex “affair” with a slave name Patsey, who he deems the ‘Queen of the field’. Fassbeneder gives a ferocious and appropriately complex performance that warrants some serious awards consideration, and special applause must also be given to Lupita Nyong’o who plays Patsey. The brutality of the subject matter is in no way sugar coated, thanks Steve McQueen’s ballsy direction. His unflinching approach to telling the story paints a true portrait of the harshness of the slave system and drew out some staggering performances from his cast. That leads me to star, Chiwitel Ejiofor who’s put through the wringer as Northup. His arc as a naïve free man, to a man scarred by slavery was very well portrayed. Despite my enthusiasm, I was bothered by McQueen’s nonexistent representation of the passage of time in this film… after all the movie is called 12 Years and slave. But for a movie this excellent, all can be forgiven. Production design and costumes were top notch, and Sean Bobbit’s cinematography accentuates the savagery on the screen, with his many single shots. Though unsettling, don’t be discouraged from seeing it… a film this powerful deserves everybody’s attention. Expand
  34. Feb 3, 2014
    7
    极其压抑的典型McQueen式电影,虎头蛇尾,进行到后面就乱套,剧情很无聊,一点没有Extraordinary的感觉,几位主演的水准都很平庸,结尾莫名其妙,Hans Zimmer失水准,不过场景很美。
  35. Feb 8, 2014
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Familiar with the plight of Solomon Northup, I began my viewing experience of 12 Years a Slave with high expectations. It was shortly afterwards that my expectations were successfully lowered. While a dramatic story in itself, the film fails to create any semblance of drama. No attempt is made to develop the character of "wrongly enslaved" free African-American Solomon Northup (or almost any other character,. In a perplexing opening sequence, we are shown Solomon's life on a sugar plantation, well, not exactly his life but gratuitous shots of him laboring and having anonymous sex with a female field hand. So this is bondage?

    With a second act seemingly 12 years long, the viewer is left wondering whatever became of basic story telling technique. No attention is given to setup. What Solomon Northup has achieved in order to live in apparent middle class comfort in the environs of affluent Saratoga NY is never satisfactorily explained. Somewhere in the tortuous second act, he relates he was once a laborer on the St. Lawrence Seaway, and was entrusted with a cargo delivery to Troy NY. An explanation that hardly supports his glimpsed portrayal as a prosperous man about town.

    Mr. Northup is a family man, so we are shown, in a mere 4 minutes of screen time in the movie's meager first act. But as if suddenly remembered, Mr. Northup, along with the audience, is finally introduced to his family in an uncomfortable reunion at the movie's close. In what should have been a moment of triumphant joy, Mr. McQueen instead chose to portray it as an exercise in British-style restraint. The ending, as the movie itself, is soulless.

    However, 12 Years a Slave may have inadvertently achieved a modicum of success on another level. For a country whose notions of slavery were formed by the pablum served up by Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With the Wind", 12 Years a Slave alternately portrays, (somewhat) the psyche of American slaveholders. Denial, delusions of racial superiority/inferiority, neurosis, scripture, combine to provide the slaveholding class with a sense of moral righteousness.

    In the end, 12 Years a Slave's message, slavery was a nasty business, resonates only with those few who were somehow unaware of this country's "peculiar institution". Fewer still may however, come away with some awareness of just how this "nasty business" survived as long as it did. This is the best that can be hoped for with this effort.
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  36. Aug 1, 2014
    9
    This was a fantastic film, well written and tremendous performances from all the stars. Far better film than I went in expecting.....................
  37. Apr 18, 2014
    10
    Small scale in its 'sweep', due to adherence to the truth of the story and a refusal to reside in the world of the sensational, the film is no less affecting as a result. Perhaps the intimacy we feel and the respect the film shows us as an audience (rare these days), its play-like nature and quieter moments are indeed its strength. I was totally unsurprised to see it win Best Film (albeitSmall scale in its 'sweep', due to adherence to the truth of the story and a refusal to reside in the world of the sensational, the film is no less affecting as a result. Perhaps the intimacy we feel and the respect the film shows us as an audience (rare these days), its play-like nature and quieter moments are indeed its strength. I was totally unsurprised to see it win Best Film (albeit that I think American Hustle was terrific fun and magnificent film-making / acting).
    The scene towards the end... you'll know it if you have seen it.... where there was almost no sense of time nor words.. quite rightly, I have no words for. One of the great 'moments' in the history of film. The film a sa whole cannot sustain that kind of brilliance of course, but what film could? It is still a masterpiece.
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  38. Dec 3, 2013
    10
    12 Years a Slave is a difficult movie to watch, but it is absolutely recommended viewing as an emotionally gripping tale that draws eyes open to the incredible brutality of savagery of slavery during the 1800's in the United States.

    I do not believe this movie was exploitative or unnecessary whatsoever. There are terrible and tragic things that have happened in the world's history,
    12 Years a Slave is a difficult movie to watch, but it is absolutely recommended viewing as an emotionally gripping tale that draws eyes open to the incredible brutality of savagery of slavery during the 1800's in the United States.

    I do not believe this movie was exploitative or unnecessary whatsoever. There are terrible and tragic things that have happened in the world's history, should we simply let these events fade away into obscurity?
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  39. Sep 6, 2014
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It's a viewing only for those who have the stomach, but the emotional roller coaster ride you take along with Solomon Northup is almost perfect. The character development and other key aspects of the film, make it a must watch. The movie almost plays like a Schindler's list meets passion of the Christ. The one negative thing I can say about the film is the unnecessary brutality at some parts and also how it drawn out. Sooner or later I felt like I've been here and done this for two hours already. Though the movie closes off with a fantastic conclusion to a movie that will leave you hating yourself...especially if your white. Though my ancestress weren't in America during slavery and basically Irish people were slaves years before blacks; you still get that terrible sense you did something wrong. You can take this badly or good. I choose neither. It paints a picture of what we (as whites) did to blacks, which is basically the worst thing ever committed by Americans, and gives it to us. It's a very well down movie and does seem to be one of the best movies of 2013. Overall it has some big flaws but rights itself in the end with a extremely emotional finale. 9.1 Expand
  40. Jul 21, 2014
    10
    12 Years a Slave is without a doubt,the best film of 2013 - it is emotionally captivating, brilliantly acted, and has a wonderfully heart warming story of a man who faced unfathomable adversity.
  41. Mar 25, 2014
    9
    The Autobiography of Solomon northup !!

    ** 12 Years Of Slave ** * This movie which dwells you in the depth of emotions which is caused by suffering and hardship rather than a warm happiness & enjoyment ! this film actually puts you in the place in which you being entertained by sadness and hardship in which you would never have expected or cannot deny being entertained !.This movie
    The Autobiography of Solomon northup !!

    ** 12 Years Of Slave **

    * This movie which dwells you in the depth of emotions which is caused by suffering and hardship rather than a warm happiness & enjoyment ! this film actually puts you in the place in which you being entertained by sadness and hardship in which you would never have expected or cannot deny being entertained !.This movie can literally capture your emotions it makes you feel for those characters in this movie like any other its has a specialty within itself that is unique from others ! .This is one of the greatest movie hands down it has beauty in its own which is both wonderful and outstanding !! .

    * This movie is an autobiography of Solomon northup who is being kidnapped and sold for slavery that eventually turns his life into misery & hardship ! This film was true to its source materials that gave this movie the huge clarity actually it also gave the feel to his suffering and also suffering for others who he associated with ! This movie has both beauty and truth .

    * The Actors Performance was outstanding they stood as the actual generators who generates our emotion when they perform during screen play ! Each and every actors performance stood as pillars for this entire movie ! Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup did and excellent performance so did other actors like Lupita Nyong'o as Patsey ,Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps ,Benedict Cumberbatch as William Ford and Brad Pitt as Samuel Bass they gave their respective characters heart and soul for this movie ! .

    * The Characters in this movie is heavily relied upon the performance of the actors as it being performed excellent and wonderful it gives the characters its beauty and brilliance !.

    * This movie is basically less in humor you cannot find any moment that so enjoyable because the story doesn't fit in with humor as it eventually displays emotion which are related with misery and hardship !.

    * This movie is entirely dramatic as its display an amount of clarity and sense of wonder with great screenplay and excellent acting performance that gives this movie its advantage and credit ! .

    * The director of this movie Steve McQueen did an outstanding dramatic movie with great direction & screenplay that make this movie as one of the best autobiographic movies of all the time ! .

    * Overall the movie is outstanding with all the performance it has successfully captured our emotions that gave this movie a sense of wonder , excitement and also sense of satisfaction which makes this entire movie wonderful .

    12 Years of Slave : *********

    (9/10)
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  42. Feb 2, 2014
    8
    It is by no means perfect like so many people and critics have been claiming it to be, but it's still a great film nonetheless! While the story looks and feels like a standard and typical slavery film, it's the acting that really propels this film. The entire all-star cast gives it their all with some great and memorable performances. Chiwetel Ejiofor gives a career-defining performance inIt is by no means perfect like so many people and critics have been claiming it to be, but it's still a great film nonetheless! While the story looks and feels like a standard and typical slavery film, it's the acting that really propels this film. The entire all-star cast gives it their all with some great and memorable performances. Chiwetel Ejiofor gives a career-defining performance in what is a very emotional and powerful portrayal of Solomon Northrup. Michael Fassbender also gives one of his best performances to date as a cruel plantation owner. Newcomer Lupita Nyong'o gives a well done, yet highly overrated performance as a fellow slave. The reason I'm calling it overrated is because she's won and is up for so many awards for a performance that wasn't even that impressive (Jennifer Lawrence did much better in "American Hustle" and certainty deserves the Oscar over Lupita.) Other actors who did really good, but didn't get much screentime include Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, and Brad Pitt. Overall, while Solomon's story feels a little "been there, done that" in terms of slavery, the acting helps push it along nicely. While it's no doubt that it's a great film, I wouldn't consider it best picture material. I'd be OK with it winning however. It's a great historical and emotional film that's definitely worth seeing! Expand
  43. Nov 16, 2013
    10
    Filming harrowing memories of Solomon Northup. It really happened. The year is 1841. In the north of the United States for years blacks citizens enjoy freedom. However, in the southern states there is still slavery. Based in Washington, DC Solomon Northup a free and educated black man, father of two children, happy husband and a respected citizen is a trick kidnapped and sold to slaveFilming harrowing memories of Solomon Northup. It really happened. The year is 1841. In the north of the United States for years blacks citizens enjoy freedom. However, in the southern states there is still slavery. Based in Washington, DC Solomon Northup a free and educated black man, father of two children, happy husband and a respected citizen is a trick kidnapped and sold to slave traders. Film Sensational. Expand
  44. Nov 19, 2013
    10
    A great movie. Perhaps the best I've seen in several years. The story line and acting for 12 Years a Slave are exceptional. This film had excellent writing with dialogue that gave it an elevated feel. The cast and their outstanding performances melded together seamlessly.

    This was truly a remarkable movie experience. More than any other film I've seen this year, 12 Years a Slave had an
    A great movie. Perhaps the best I've seen in several years. The story line and acting for 12 Years a Slave are exceptional. This film had excellent writing with dialogue that gave it an elevated feel. The cast and their outstanding performances melded together seamlessly.

    This was truly a remarkable movie experience. More than any other film I've seen this year, 12 Years a Slave had an impact on me after I left the movie theatre. The fact that this movie is based on a true story adds to the affect. Although some parts can be difficult to watch, this movie is well worth your time to see.
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  45. Dec 27, 2013
    10
    Best movie I've seen since There Will be Blood. It's not often you go to see a movie and afterwords you feel horrible about the actions of your ancestor. This is not a movie you will want to watch countless times. However, just like Schindler List everyone needs to watch this to understand the horrors of slavery.
  46. Dec 28, 2013
    8
    Although certainly impressive on all fronts, the movie just quite isn't the masterpiece that many are proclaiming it to be. Comparisons to Django Unchained are inevitable, but McQueen's film represents a more serious (and harrowing) approach to difficult material.
  47. Feb 21, 2014
    9
    Exceptional acting and great direction. While many are not familiar with Solomon Northup's epic life story, including myself, the film delivers a great execution as if you were the one experiencing all these events that happened in Solomon's life. Steve McQueen really knows how to capture the essence of the theme. Moreover, the acting was EXCEPTIONAL. Big applause for Chiwetel Ejiofor,Exceptional acting and great direction. While many are not familiar with Solomon Northup's epic life story, including myself, the film delivers a great execution as if you were the one experiencing all these events that happened in Solomon's life. Steve McQueen really knows how to capture the essence of the theme. Moreover, the acting was EXCEPTIONAL. Big applause for Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, and newcomer Lupita Nyong'o. I'm surprised that Sarah Paulson didn't get the praised that she should've gotten. However, the movie itself is already a box office success, it doesn't need a lot of awards to attract audiences. Expand
  48. Jan 6, 2014
    8
    A good film for sure. But grim and sadistic. It will win many awards I'm sure but I don't think Best Picture will be one of them mainly because the direction of the film is awkward at times and often intrusive
  49. Jan 5, 2014
    7
    This movie was well acted but I found it a bit slow at times with the main actor looking into space constantly. Lots of people appeared and went with no follow up. I would have liked to see more content and less brutality. It would have been a much better movie had there been more dialogue. The main star seemed to hog the whole movie.
  50. Jan 11, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. There is a scene in the film when a Louisana plantation owner, Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), confronts one of his slaves, Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o), about her disappearance. Despite her entreaties to explain her brief absence she is subjected to a whipping. As the lash tears into her back members of the audience gasp, some whimper, others cry silently, but all recoil back into their seat horrifyingly transfixed by the terror of the scene, as each crack of the whip brings forth a fine spray of blood. The whole scene is the dark heart of the film and indeed, the heart of darkness of the American slave trade. It is also the most powerful scene in thirty years of filmmaking in a film that is simply a modern masterpiece, and by far the best film you will see this year.

    Therein lies a dichotomy because cinema is about entertainment and 12 Years a Slave is a gruelling watch – a harrowing, unflinching, unsentimental and absorbing examination of the barbarity of slavery. It is emotionally draining and not a film to be viewed for an evening’s entertainment. The director, Steve McQueen, first came to prominence in 1999 when he beat out Tracey Emin to win the Turner Prize and like his artwork, his three films so far – Hunger, Shame, 12 Years a Slave – reflect the same clarity of vision, emotional intensity and economy of thought. 12 Years a Slave is set up as a grim story of survival, the mood is sombre, the tone is dark and the music (Hans Zimmer’s ‘Time’ from Inception) is perfectly suited to a piece that is a metaphor for a journey in hell.

    Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, a freeman living in Saratoga, upstate New York in 1841 when he is persuaded to work for a travelling music show in Washington DC and then kidnapped and sold into slavery after a drunken night out. First into the relatively benign hands of a minister, William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch), and then onto a drunken and violent plantation owner, Edwin Epps. This is where the film differs slightly from Northup’s autobiographical account of the same name, because he had a second owner, John Tibeats, an irrational and violent man who nearly killed Northup on more than one occasion. Epps was his third owner but in the film, for the sake of economy, Tibeats is portrayed as William Ford’s harrying carpenter (Paul Dano). This is the only detail in the film that differs from the book and astonishingly, the power of the scene in which Patsey is whipped has been diluted by the director, because Northup reports on brine being poured onto her back afterwards – a scene of suffering which even modern audiences would have found too much to bear.

    Steve McQueen is ably served by a fantastic cast and special mentions must be given to Sarah Paulson who plays the pitiless Mistress Epps, Lupita Nyong’O (Patsey) and above all, Michael Fassbender, who brings Edwin Epps to demonic life – a man who is a violent and sadistic bully – whose self loathing, rage and madness is agitated by his lust and abominable treatment of Patsey. A slew of awards including the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor surely beckons for Fassbender and both Ejiofor and Nyong’o will be strongly in the running for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively. Ejiofor effectively portrays the grim determination and quiet dignity of a man struggling to keep hold of his sanity in order to survive his hellish nightmare, and his sense of discombobulation early in the film is palpable. Nyong’o is the touchstone upon which the cruelties, helplessness and capricious nature of slavery are revealed and you will be left wondering about Patsey’s fate at the end credits. Sadly, you will be left disappointed, consigned as a footnote in history. Both actors deserve recognition for their work.

    12 Years a Slave is the best film ever made about slavery and retrospect has shown that it needed a non-American to make it to avoid the mawkish, reverential and over-sentimental sensibilities that would have weighed the film down if say, Steven Spielberg, had made it (consider 'Amistad' as a case in point). The historians Sue Eakin and David Fiske have researched and verified the details of Northup’s life and the minutiae of plantation slavery in his story, so there is no doubt that his ghost written autobiography is a truthful and accurate account of his ordeal. The film’s veracity and honesty is a stark reminder that in America, the issue of slavery must be examined in all its excoriating and shameful detail in the light of day. Without full closure on this issue, I cannot see how the racial divide in American society can begin to be breached, mended and healed for the development of a truly United States of America. My, and presumably, many people’s ignorance of Northup’s story is testimony to the fact that not enough is known or done about revealing the full history of slavery and the unfettered horrors, injustices and brutalities of the Atlantic Slave Trade
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  51. PMG
    Mar 9, 2014
    10
    This movie... OH MY GOD, this movie. Okay the only flaw is that the movie never really feels like it took 12 years and aside from that... there are no other flaws. Amazing Acting, an emotionel journey, glories cinematography, a believeble historical seting and one of the most brutal representations of the horror of slaverie. It is difficult to watch, but this is a movie that you must see.
  52. Jan 13, 2014
    10
    This was really a good movie. Try to see it if you have not already seen it.

    I knew from reading history that there were free blacks, primarily in the north; and that they had to be careful not to be kidnapped and sold into slavery. Knowing it and seeing in enacted on the screen was a very different thing. Represented on the screen were all of the things/people I had read about. Not
    This was really a good movie. Try to see it if you have not already seen it.

    I knew from reading history that there were free blacks, primarily in the north; and that they had to be careful not to be kidnapped and sold into slavery. Knowing it and seeing in enacted on the screen was a very different thing. Represented on the screen were all of the things/people I had read about. Not an enjoyable movie, but unforgettable
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  53. Feb 4, 2014
    8
    An excellent and disturbing film. McQueen does a great job presenting all characters as humans, rather than stereotypes, although Brad Pitt's character seemed a bit too saintly. The acting is generally top notch, particularly Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o, and especially Chiwetel Ejiofor. Beautifully shot as well.
  54. Jan 18, 2014
    6
    Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o give powerhouse performances, and absolutely deserved their Oscar nods. As a whole, though, "12 Years a Slave" is uneven. The film's depictions of violence and cruelty are wrenching, but there is very little underlying character or plot development. The viewer never really gets a full picture of Solomon's relationship with his family or the people heChiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o give powerhouse performances, and absolutely deserved their Oscar nods. As a whole, though, "12 Years a Slave" is uneven. The film's depictions of violence and cruelty are wrenching, but there is very little underlying character or plot development. The viewer never really gets a full picture of Solomon's relationship with his family or the people he works alongside after being forced into slavery. Expand
  55. Jan 19, 2014
    10
    An amazing hard hitting truth about the terrible time Solomon Northup suffered. with an amazing script and actors if there's any justice this film will clean up at the Oscars
  56. Jan 24, 2014
    8
    In case you don't know what you're walking into: this movie is really SAD . There is no sugar coating here, it is a simple portrayal of the injustice and tragedy that happened in the American south before the civil war. At the end, there is no great satisfaction, justice isn't really meted out. A man's life is broken, a family is shaken to its foundation, and emancipation isn't going toIn case you don't know what you're walking into: this movie is really SAD . There is no sugar coating here, it is a simple portrayal of the injustice and tragedy that happened in the American south before the civil war. At the end, there is no great satisfaction, justice isn't really meted out. A man's life is broken, a family is shaken to its foundation, and emancipation isn't going to bring to justice the wicked people who built and profited from that system. This is not a movie you will enjoy watching, but it is very powerful and it illustrates a real issue very, very vividly. Expand
  57. Feb 24, 2014
    8
    This movie demonstrates the horrors of that time period so well it is sometimes hard to watch. The acting is fantastic and I think all the actors deserve recognition for their performances. My one big complaint though, is I didn't feel like we got to know the character of Solomon at all. There was not much insight to who he was as a person other then he loves his family. I felt a lot ofThis movie demonstrates the horrors of that time period so well it is sometimes hard to watch. The acting is fantastic and I think all the actors deserve recognition for their performances. My one big complaint though, is I didn't feel like we got to know the character of Solomon at all. There was not much insight to who he was as a person other then he loves his family. I felt a lot of the supporting roles, in particular Michael Fassbenders, were handled pretty well but it often felt as if we were being shown all these horrific things just because he was there and not so much how it had effected him (Hopefully that comes across how I meant it). But overall definetly worth a see. Expand
  58. Feb 21, 2014
    7
    Having read before I saw the film that Steve Mcqueen has won a Turner prize I could not help but view the undoubtedly stunning cineography as a separate entity. It made it more difficult to be drawn into the story and empathise with the characters as I felt the director was determined to randomly slot in as many scenery shots as possible at the expense of developing the characters,Having read before I saw the film that Steve Mcqueen has won a Turner prize I could not help but view the undoubtedly stunning cineography as a separate entity. It made it more difficult to be drawn into the story and empathise with the characters as I felt the director was determined to randomly slot in as many scenery shots as possible at the expense of developing the characters, especially important in a film with little plot. This was borne out by both myself and partner thinking the film was longer than 2hr 15min and neither of us shed a tear - unusual for me! Expand
  59. Feb 23, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. 12 years a slave is not a movie for the weak hearted. The Movie is an unbelievably true account of the horrors of slavery and it will make you uncomfortable to say the least. Everyone in the cast delivers wonderful performances that further add to the power of the beautiful and vivid imagery that transport you through the journey of Solomon Northup. A freeman who is wrongfully sold into slavery and spends 12 years in the slave trade. Chiwetel Ejiofor delivers a wonderfull yet subtle performance as Northup that further enriches the visual beauty of the movie and helps stay away from the stereotypes of other slave movies that have been over dramatized. Expand
  60. Feb 23, 2014
    10
    12 years a slave is not a regular movie ... it's a slavery experience that force your mind to think about similarities between you and "Blat", and by the end asking yourself, Am I really free or just a slave with different master and instructions?...
  61. Mar 1, 2014
    8
    It was quite interesting, especially in the script movie, but the torture scenes are very strong, even you feel the pain of the slaves, that if it was painful, but otherwise had no problem, it is a great work and end was the best, if not win the Oscar, but stay in my favorites.
  62. Mar 2, 2014
    10
    This was a truly heart breaking beautiful movie. It is definitely oscar worthy. The truth behind the story of this movie just makes me want to cry. Amazing!
  63. May 1, 2014
    9
    An amazing journey to a era of slavery, brutality, and a sad true story of a surviver, by the hand of stunning performances, and one of the most recognised director, Steve McQueen is at his very best, but still a bit slow at some sequences.
  64. Mar 11, 2014
    7
    It's an OK film, but more historical fiction than history. Most characters are black and white (no pun intended) and the only one showing some complexity was the plantation owner played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The screenwriters mostly used violence and cartoon injustice to get you to sympathize with the protagonists and the ending was a bit too sugary and expected for my taste.
  65. Mar 13, 2014
    7
    A good movie although not great. It overplayed the parts of cruelty and beatings to a disgusting point. The flashbacks in time were confusing and awkward. Great acting on the parts of Salomon and Patsy.
  66. Mar 14, 2014
    10
    Boring at start. He's just playing the fiddle and white people are dancing and prancing as they are made to. I thought that the movie will stay this way, but when he appears in chains, I told myself: "Oh, this again?". But that thought was killed when a white man suddenly beaten him bloodily until his paddle-thing shattered to pieces. And then I thought to myself, do I still want to watchBoring at start. He's just playing the fiddle and white people are dancing and prancing as they are made to. I thought that the movie will stay this way, but when he appears in chains, I told myself: "Oh, this again?". But that thought was killed when a white man suddenly beaten him bloodily until his paddle-thing shattered to pieces. And then I thought to myself, do I still want to watch this? I didn't. It broke my heart into thousands of red splinters. The acting was superb, though dialogue from Platt had room for improvement. Patsey's character was developed exceptionally, perfectly. The movie deserves all praise and hail, and this is a movie (though brutal and sexual), must be watched by your entire family. To let them see the sins of your ancestors. Expand
  67. Nov 23, 2014
    8
    12 Years Slave es una película de drama convincente y con un guión atractivo, y que aunque la película le falto un poco de chispa, no dejo de ser un buen drama.
  68. Mar 21, 2014
    10
    After what feels like twelve hundred lashings, we are left transfixed at the horrors on the screen as a poor young lady has been innocently victimized by the sharp cane of a mean, powerful and perverted land owner. This is just one of the many harrowing scenes in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave – a fruitful and climatic dramatization of Solomon Northup’s novel of the same name.

    This is
    After what feels like twelve hundred lashings, we are left transfixed at the horrors on the screen as a poor young lady has been innocently victimized by the sharp cane of a mean, powerful and perverted land owner. This is just one of the many harrowing scenes in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave – a fruitful and climatic dramatization of Solomon Northup’s novel of the same name.

    This is a hard film to call, it is no doubt a grand dramatization in the life of a slave, but is it overtly so? Or does the film focus too much on this epic translation of Solomon’s life to the big screen that it forgets all the other impediments such a landmark should forge? When Brad Pitt enters the scene as a kind-hearted Canadian speaking out against slavery, it seems clearly convenient and perhaps too messianic. Yet, McQueen doesn’t send us half-hearted back to 1841 and rigorously achieves what a film must: let us experience the characters journey. So, despite occasional setback and concern surrounding my observations, this film is ultimately awe-inspiring and you’d have to be a fool not to feel its power and raw emotion.

    Chiwetel Ejiofor (playing Solomon) is the eyes and soul of this film. It is a grandiose performance of tears, adoration, forfeiture and being. Often, McQueen will leave his camera resting on Solomon’s shoulder or waiting just around the corner. We are summoned to live and breath with this character, feel his pain and stare straight into his forlorn soul. A primary example of McQueen escalating tension in this sense is when Solomon is hanged but left dangling with his toes barely touching the ground. There he waits for help, as most ignore him. It is excruciating, we watch Solomon balance himself, as for not would mean death. But, the camera is not always lingering, sometimes it is swirling in circles, to contradict McQueen’s earlier method of creating tension. In this case, it is tension via action, rather than emotion. In this scene, Solomon is forced to whip Patsy (Lupita Nyong’o) – a fellow lady slave – it is a pinical scene and one that hammers home the diseased social order of their sick master Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender).

    McQueen’s two previous films have also addressed intense subject matter – In Hunger we experience the hunger strike against the British occupation in Northern Island, and in Shame, a man crippled by sex addiction. The insane acts that human beings carry out on one another is the limelight of McQueen’s work and one shouldn’t be surprised if he picks out subject matter related to Hitler, Stalin or Xianzhong as his next piece of work!
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  69. Mar 21, 2014
    7
    I had very high expectations for this movie this movie when I saw all of the trailers and it certainly did not live up to those standards in the slightest. I was expecting so much more and it did not deserve best picture or best supporting actress in the oscars. Jennifer Lawrence from American hustle was much better than Lupita Nyongo, and American hustle, Dallas buyers club and captainI had very high expectations for this movie this movie when I saw all of the trailers and it certainly did not live up to those standards in the slightest. I was expecting so much more and it did not deserve best picture or best supporting actress in the oscars. Jennifer Lawrence from American hustle was much better than Lupita Nyongo, and American hustle, Dallas buyers club and captain Phillips were all better than this movie. The constant repeat of the same scene just to waste time was really useless. I thought Fassbenders performance was great but overall..One of Steve McQueens more disappointing films and I'd give it 7/10 at a big push! Expand
  70. Dec 9, 2014
    9
    A beautiful look at American slavery, "12 Years a Slave" is undoubtedly the best movie of 2013 (along with Captain Philips and Gravity) thanks to its phenomenal cast and expertly written story.
  71. Jul 19, 2014
    9
    Una grandiosa película, realizada para hacerte llorar, con maravillosas interpretaciones por parte de sus protagonistas y que muestra una parte importante de la historia norteamericana.
  72. Jun 5, 2014
    9
    This movie is a masterpiece! Not much more to say. I had to regain my manliness by punching my pillow in the end of the movie. The last time I had tears like that in my eyes was when watching a sad film, those were tears of joy and happiness. No film ever did this to me.
  73. Jun 22, 2014
    7
    12 years a slave is a good film that could have been a great film, it is well worth watching and the conclusion is fantastic, but they somehow felt the need to try just a little bit too hard, when the subject matter is more than powerful enough.

    Chiwetel delivers an excellent performance - as always, yet I don't believe that the movie deserves the shining critical acclaim it has received.
  74. Nov 22, 2014
    8
    12 Years a Slave couldn't be more real. It really captures what the world was like at that time. Solomon Northup was portray beautifully and I'm glad that this film managed to capture the Oscar for Best Picture, its a very worthy film. The ending has one of the most intense scenes that I've seen in any movie, I won't spoil it, because its amazing. It must have took a lot of studying in12 Years a Slave couldn't be more real. It really captures what the world was like at that time. Solomon Northup was portray beautifully and I'm glad that this film managed to capture the Oscar for Best Picture, its a very worthy film. The ending has one of the most intense scenes that I've seen in any movie, I won't spoil it, because its amazing. It must have took a lot of studying in order to create this film. I may have to go out and read Northup's book now. Expand
  75. Feb 5, 2015
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Objective Subjection

    The scarcity of film stock in 1920s Russia spawned innovations in editing. When a Film Professor intercut a poker-faced head-shot with highly-charged discarded footage, his students marvelled at the acting. Soviet montage pioneers also discovered they could lurk considerably longer on a distant shot than on a close up.

    Steve McQueen, a black Brit, does a splendid job retelling the cruelest, and perhaps the most troubling period in American history. The contentious subject alone makes it a necessary Oscar contender. A lot of slack available here. Regardless of the style, if the issue is treated with respect it will get respect. Anytime the movie lulls, the audience will inevitably meditate on history's horrible transgressions. Still, people don't go to the cinema to be shamed or reminded of past horrors. So stylizing the movie with foreign objectivity prevents it from getting weepy or sentimental. The complexion and complexness of the story is elevated by plantation owner Edwin Apps' (Michael Fassbender's) justifications. Slavery was legal. Period. Morality is not an issue. Don't blame him, blame the law. Just the way it's still apparently legal to kill Blacks in Florida with its disturbingly primitive Stand Your Ground law. The complexity in 12YAS is supplemented by Fassbender's overall bizarre, eccentric and exceptional behaviour. He even works the fields himself. His transgressions are further justified by deflecting much of the blame on his jealous wife, another marginalized figure. Subjugation is relative and hierarchal. The issue of slavery is even further complicated by abolitionist Bass (Brad Pitt) who, intentionally or not, comes off as a liberal putz.

    It's a bold and powerful film all right, due largely to the subject at hand, if not McQueen's aloof presentation. The film gives us a formal study of callous persecution. It's framed with a stoic examination of impartiality intercut with readymade emotional content. McQueen at once immerses and detaches us from the human suffering constituted by American slavery. Notice how long he manages to linger on the hanging scene by shooting it at a distance. Lupita Nyong'o is nominated for an Oscar because her character suffers deeply. Her acting was heightened by basic editing techniques. Leave out the whipping scene or simply remove the shot of the deep, bloodied tracks lashed on her back, and she probably wouldn't be in the running. Similarly, the subject of slavery is so vexing and all-consuming that Chiwetel Ejiofor can play Solomon Northup entirely with detached resignation.
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  76. Dec 23, 2014
    7
    Good, but 12 years a slave is just another slave movie that seems extremely real, and well made, which is a good thing, but it is done too mamy times, and seen too many times as well.
  77. Sep 5, 2014
    10
    12 Years a Slave is brilliant and depressing at the same time.The performances in this movie are simply fabulous and definitely Oscar worthy.A true heart beating drama that leaves you speechless.
  78. Sep 20, 2014
    10
    A truly great movie is one that stays with you long after it is ended.

    A truly great movie is one that stays with you long after it is ended. The emotions and story unshakable; hours, days, weeks and 12 Years A Slave is such a film. From the moment the film opened on the first scene I was racked with anxiety. Not having read any reviews for 12 Years A Slave, I only knew it was
    A truly great movie is one that stays with you long after it is ended.

    A truly great movie is one that stays with you long after it is ended. The emotions and story unshakable; hours, days, weeks and 12 Years A Slave is such a film. From the moment the film opened on the first scene I was racked with anxiety. Not having read any reviews for 12 Years A Slave, I only knew it was fearlessly honest about the story of a free man from the North, kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana.

    Such clear purpose and vision could only produce a story of unwavering fortitude such as this. Steve McQueen, the director, is an artist and true visionary for his unflinching portrayal of Mr. Solomon Northup’s story and the unending brutalities and injustices encountered by those in slavery. The knot that persisted in my stomach from start to finish is a direct result of his firm ability to never look away. I felt compelled to honor those who had endured such unspeakable horrors that were once their life by watching and also not looking away, likely Mr. McQueen’s goal. From the moment Mr. Northup is sold, as Platt, you hopelessly seek out for some person to be a refuge as he fights to survive. The story is beautifully told, never allowing you to fully become immersed in the slave’s life, never truly forgetting the freedom that was once had – with the use of flashbacks and remarks reminiscent of a previous life. No scene is wasted, no filler, no false emotions spurred from music, just the hard truth of one man’s life. The saddest truth is Mr. Northup’s story is unremarkable in comparison to thousands of other men, women and children forced and born into slavery.

    Every actor deserves not just a nomination, but an award, to honor their brave and ultimately successful choice to take on such an insurmountable task of each role. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Adepero Oduye and the countless actors who I failed to list or those who played minor roles were impeccable and steadfast and a direct contributor to the movie’s achievement.

    If you are emotionally mature enough to endure such a dramatic, honest and truthful story then I implore you to set apart a day and watch 12 Years A Slave. A day is necessary to allow yourself to process such a magnificent film that is truly in a class of its own surpassing all other films released this year.

    I do understand if you do not, as the movie was incredibly difficult to watch.

    More reviews of recent releases can be found at our website.
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  79. Oct 13, 2014
    10
    Wonderful cinematography/photography, deeply visceral and a troubling story, as can be expected. I found the negative commentaries strangely sad and lacking decency. Most of the films detractors found it boring and/or especially vicious. It is a retelling of the Solomon Northrup's story. I'll probably not watch it again as I am not particularly a fan of violence and sadism. That beingWonderful cinematography/photography, deeply visceral and a troubling story, as can be expected. I found the negative commentaries strangely sad and lacking decency. Most of the films detractors found it boring and/or especially vicious. It is a retelling of the Solomon Northrup's story. I'll probably not watch it again as I am not particularly a fan of violence and sadism. That being said, it's brilliantly acted, directed and produced. It is definitely not a pleasure movie, but worthy of praise and observation/viewing. Expand
  80. Oct 30, 2014
    8
    Summary: 12 Years a Slave delivers intense sequences of drama, great characterization and quality performances. 84/100 [B+]

    I usually dislike this type of films, because all of them are extremely overrated, but 12 Years a Slave it's not overrated at all, it's quite good actually. Moving on, its execution is slow-paced, it's a bit boring at times. However, it's a great film that relies
    Summary: 12 Years a Slave delivers intense sequences of drama, great characterization and quality performances. 84/100 [B+]

    I usually dislike this type of films, because all of them are extremely overrated, but 12 Years a Slave it's not overrated at all, it's quite good actually. Moving on, its execution is slow-paced, it's a bit boring at times. However, it's a great film that relies on pain and sadness. I only have some issues with the main character "Solomon Northup", he is uninteresting and dull; Chiwetel Ejiofor does a great job performing this boring character though. On the upside, the film is rich in storytelling and its long running time is not a problem. Although the last 40-30 minutes have long periods of boredom, I enjoyed it for the most part.

    Its final act has a very intense and extremely sad scene with Lupita Nyong'o and the "American Horror Story" star Sarah Paulson. Also, the whole movie is wickedly graphic and awkward to watch at times. In spite of a few boring scenes and a dull main character, 12 Years a Slave it's a quite gruesome experience. The acting is so good and it boasts lots of memorable moments. Of course, its premise is delicate, but the movie is in good hands, its director Steve McQueen directed with care and emotion. So, in conclusion, it's a sentimental film that conveys emotions to the audience and takes to itself seriously (for the obvious reasons). [B+]
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  81. Jan 4, 2015
    9
    Steve McQueen a creado una obra de arte, a pesar de la intensa violencia, racismo, y varias brutalidades gráficas que acontecen en esta película, 12 Años de Esclavo es un logro cinematográfico, su crudo realismo te dejara sin aliento.
    AUNQUE..... No me parece que se merecía el Oscar a mejor película, eso era para Gravedad de Alfonso Cuaron
  82. Nov 11, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Solomon Northup was a free-born man living in Saratoga, New York married with two children. In 1841 he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Viewers should not take Northup's story as something individual. Situations like this happened several times over the course of this horrific period, a clear type of holocaust of the African-American human people.

    If you have already watched Hunger (2008) and Shame (2011) you certainly know that Steve McQueen directs his films with merciless realism. His first two films were very dark and perplexing and so is 12 Years a Slave.

    The main theme of McQeen's film agenda is, I believe, about complex human-beings finding themselves in difficult situations. Bobby Sands, Brandon and finally Solomon Northup. Even though their names don't really matter, because they are just characters who represent the difficulties of our everyday lives.

    The film is a cruel examination of slavery in America and McQueen was probably the best director for this kind of material. His long takes and the objectivity of his camera make the movie seem realistic. The movie as an achievement represents perfection at cinematography, production, costumes and editing. Hans Zimmer score is hypnotic and controls the emotions of the audience. And of course a great screenplay by John Ridley who adapted Northup's memoir and created almost all the dialogue.

    Chiwetel Ejiofor gives a powerful and riveting performance as Solomon Northup. After a good stage career and some decent film performances, Ejiofor takes full advantage of his great talent previously shown in Dirty Pretty Things. This is one of the best performances of all time.

    Behind Ejiofor we see an extremely talented supporting cast full of charismatic and great actors. Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'o give career best performances and stand out among Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano and others.

    What an incredible, haunting and touching film it is. Highly recommended for everyone who has the gut to watch the truth in a so tense way. Not only the best movie of the year but also one of the greatest and most important achievements in the history of movie-making.
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  83. Feb 7, 2015
    10
    This is truly a fantastic film. It all comes down to the quality of the story, the narrative. "12 Years a Slave" is a beautiful film, not because of its theme but because of how that theme is handled. Other than that, everything else is near perfect. The cast is as solid as possible, the score is one piece of art... Even though it may be a little graphic for some people, I truly believeThis is truly a fantastic film. It all comes down to the quality of the story, the narrative. "12 Years a Slave" is a beautiful film, not because of its theme but because of how that theme is handled. Other than that, everything else is near perfect. The cast is as solid as possible, the score is one piece of art... Even though it may be a little graphic for some people, I truly believe this is how a slavery movie should be told. It doesn't get better than this. Expand
  84. Feb 21, 2015
    9
    Impressive film and a true story, which for me always adds to the experience! The acting is very good and the story intensive!! The film is actually hard to watch at times as some of the scenes are quite graphic. Still very true to the atrocities that took place in slavery before the civil war! This has you coming away with a distaste and a displeasure that we as humans could stoop soImpressive film and a true story, which for me always adds to the experience! The acting is very good and the story intensive!! The film is actually hard to watch at times as some of the scenes are quite graphic. Still very true to the atrocities that took place in slavery before the civil war! This has you coming away with a distaste and a displeasure that we as humans could stoop so low in actions. Again I repeat at times for me this was hard to watch, but you wanted to finish to see how Solomon the main character persevered! I was hesitant to take on the task of watching this movie, but in the end glad I decided to purchase it in DVD. If you haven't seen this movie I would suggest in doing so, but be warned again the film can be very graphic at times. Expand
  85. Feb 27, 2015
    8
    So I finally got around to seeing 12 Years a Slave, and now that I've wiped the tears from my face, I can tell you I was a little disappointed!

    Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I watched it. I liked certain things about the directing (like the fact that McQueen didn't plaster the movie with music) but the whole thing, the whole production, struck me as somewhat empty. There weren't those
    So I finally got around to seeing 12 Years a Slave, and now that I've wiped the tears from my face, I can tell you I was a little disappointed!

    Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I watched it. I liked certain things about the directing (like the fact that McQueen didn't plaster the movie with music) but the whole thing, the whole production, struck me as somewhat empty. There weren't those little details that bring a story, and especially a time period, to life. Life in the slave quarters, in particular, was lifeless. You can argue that that's because all the slaves were reduced to zombies, but I think it might be more a lack of imagination on the writer's part. In general I felt that where the source material didn't give any information, the movie-makers failed to fill in the gaps without resorting to cliche. I definitely want to read the autobiography now, though.

    In a weird way it was like a melding of Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto (or however you spell it). 12 Years had the lingering sadomasochism of the Passion (Polansky proved you don't need to dwell on torture to make an audience feel it), at the same time it was a rousing survival story like Apocalypto. How can you not root for Platt! Every time he got his hands on some sneering racist villain I cheered! But I was disappointed in the end, because say what you will about Mel Gibson, he knows how to conjure up the weirdness of a different world.

    Also, you gotta love how Brad Pitt, who produced the movie, gave himself the best white role.
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Metascore
97

Universal acclaim - based on 48 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 48
  2. Negative: 0 out of 48
  1. Reviewed by: Emma Dibdin
    Jan 14, 2014
    80
    Visceral, vital and anchored by its earnest performances, this is a potent portrait of a shameful historical truth.
  2. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Jan 6, 2014
    80
    Falling between the twin pillars of the art house and prestige period flick, 12 Years A Slave is history lesson as horror film, powerful, visceral and affecting. And after years of being great in everything, Chiwetel Ejiofor shines in a lead worthy of his immense talent.
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Nov 7, 2013
    100
    There has never been a movie like 12 Years a Slave, which is Hollywood's shame. Miss it, and that mistake is yours.