12 Years a Slave

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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 931 Ratings

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  1. Negative: 84 out of 931
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  1. Nov 16, 2013
    10
    12 Years A Slave is a gripping engrossing film about the era of slavery in America, and how being a free man doesn't matter to slave traders and owners. Chiwetel Ejiofor deserves an Oscar nod for his stunning performance, and many other contenders are in this as well.

    This movie was realistic and engaging at every second. Even the dramatic pauses were worthwhile and definitely not a
    12 Years A Slave is a gripping engrossing film about the era of slavery in America, and how being a free man doesn't matter to slave traders and owners. Chiwetel Ejiofor deserves an Oscar nod for his stunning performance, and many other contenders are in this as well.

    This movie was realistic and engaging at every second. Even the dramatic pauses were worthwhile and definitely not a waste of time. The script inferred and hinted at events rather than just plain saying them, and that was genius.

    Overall, this movie makes you think about morals and ethics of humans. I can't fathom how slave owners could be so ruthless and passive about the whipping, selling, labor, etc. that the slaves had to go through. It's films like these that'll make this part of history never repeat itself again.
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  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. Oct 19, 2013
    10
    Despite a melodramatic Hans Zimmer score, the worst kind of Hollywood fanfare imaginable for this tender piece of cinema, McQueen elegantly crafts 12 Years a Slave. His camera floats through fields of cotton like a ghost, lingers on the edge in wide shots as death hangs in the air, or races from character to character as intensity builds and blood flows from the backs of the innocent. HisDespite a melodramatic Hans Zimmer score, the worst kind of Hollywood fanfare imaginable for this tender piece of cinema, McQueen elegantly crafts 12 Years a Slave. His camera floats through fields of cotton like a ghost, lingers on the edge in wide shots as death hangs in the air, or races from character to character as intensity builds and blood flows from the backs of the innocent. His impulse is to move in towards Ejiofor's tearful eyes, reflecting action through a lens rather that simply showing it for gratuitous pleasure. There's much of Solomon's predicament that McQueen's film never quite penetrates, classist issues and relationships formed while surviving plantation life. But as an exercise in emotion, 12 Years a Slave is unflinching and artful. It's the closest we'll come to living out and feeling this tragedy. Director Steve McQueen's eye is better than his sense of pacing in the nevertheless devastating drama 12 Years a Slave, featuring a standout performance from Serenity's Chiwetel Ejiofor. Expand
  5. Oct 27, 2013
    8
    Harrowing, grotesque, earnest, and featuring perfect performances from Ejiofor, Fassbender, and Nyong'o, Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave" is an unwaveringly powerful look at the darkest depth of humanity.
  6. Jan 2, 2014
    7
    12 Years a Slave has some great acting, intense moments, and a story that is fantastic. But after all of that, I left the film empty and not completely satisfied. McQueen made a pretty good film, but not a masterpiece.
  7. Nov 20, 2013
    8
    Absolutely great film. Chiwetel Ejiofor's performance as Solomon Northup is absolutely Oscar-worthy, as is Steve McQueen's direction. The film is emotional, dark, and depressing, everything that you would expect in a film on this topic. With 12 Years a Slave, we are presented a tragically true story and given every gory detail, making this film extremelty uncomfortable to watch, but yet,Absolutely great film. Chiwetel Ejiofor's performance as Solomon Northup is absolutely Oscar-worthy, as is Steve McQueen's direction. The film is emotional, dark, and depressing, everything that you would expect in a film on this topic. With 12 Years a Slave, we are presented a tragically true story and given every gory detail, making this film extremelty uncomfortable to watch, but yet, it's massively important. Expand
  8. Jan 4, 2014
    9
    This is breathtakingly well made with top notch performances up and down the cast, but without a doubt the toughest film to watch of the year. The horrific things done to these people and the way Steve McQueen unflinchingly shows them makes this a must see at least once. A
  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. Mar 14, 2014
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It takes an emotional toll to watch Steve McQueen’s poignant 2013 BEST PICTURE winner of the Academy awards, adapted from the autobiography of Solomon Northup, a free black man is sold into slavery for 12 years in the antebellum United States.

    As the third feature film from UK auteur Steve McQueen (after HUNGER 2008, 7/10 and SHAME 2011, 9/10), 12 YEARS A SLAVE is a metamorphic achievement for his director competence, comes to grips with the grave source material, and transposes the text into a visually stupefying and inwardly resounding piece of cinematic treasure, compels audience to vicariously undergo the trials and tribulations of Solomon (Ejiofor) and his fellow black slaves, and to corroborate us the price of freedom is hard-won merely 150 years ago, we might say we have far progressed above the stupidity and narrow-mindedness portrays among the white folks in the film, and slavery is rather an antiquated concept, however, whether this self-aware moral improvement has reached its end of line, or 150 years later, when we our progeny harks back, we will be plainly as anachronistic as those pathetic, barbarous and abominable predecessors.

    I digress too far, but I do intend to reiterate the value of this film, not because slavery is obsolete so we contemporaries have no urgency to watch it, in fact, we are in absolute obligation to reflect on those historic iniquity to alert ourselves not to recommit the same error, which we may agree, a large portion of people are treading the same water in the present climate.

    Now, back to the film, McQueen and his team, in particular the long-time DP Sean Bobbitt, are luxuriating in their meticulous composition of each shot, the long-shot of Solomon hung on a tree struggling to life with his toes tipped on the ground while no one care or dare to set him loose (in the background, several slave kids frolicking around) is strikingly daunting to behold, whether white or black, their mentality is ingrainedly impaired; intermittently, the breathtakingly picturesque topographic shots of the southern land (the bayou, the cotton field or the windy woods) seamlessly transition the chronicle into another twist or perturbation.

    The central dramatis personae is electrifying to the core, Ejiofor whole-heartedly radiates in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and every single take lingers on his bubble-eyed physiognomy is unimpeachably soul-stirring, his immaculate dedication oozes Solomon’s despair, angst and persistence. Fassbender, McQueen’s fixed leading man, lends himself to the meaty villain role, the outright racist plantation owner Edwin Epps,the dichotomy of his libido-driven infatuation with the young slave girl Patsey (Nyong’o) and the iron-clad truth she will never be completely his possession, is the centrepiece which culminates in an appalling whipping sequence where McQueen unbendingly fixates on Patsey’s heartbreaking wail and the horrid lacerations, Nyong’o is no doubt meritorious for her Oscar-win with her debut, her final scene when seeing off Solomon to his freedom with both yearning (for herself) and felicity (for him) has been encapsulated with pitch perfect verisimilitude.

    Further on, besides those three Oscar-nominated lucky ones, it is a handful of under-praised but equally memorable performances, Sarah Paulson (Mistress Epps), Alfre Woodard (Mistress Shaw) and Adepero Oduye (Eliza) all steal the limelight when their meagre screen-time is on, Paulson is brilliant with her glacial frigidity and sharp callousness, Woodard nails the most ambiguous role in the film with her composed utterance and Oduye brings about a burst of volcanic theatricality in her tête-à-tête with Ejiofor. By contrast, the other male side players are less prominent, Pitt is the ultimate messiah for Solomon, but reservedly underlit, and Paul Dano is on the verge of being typecast as someone either compulsively creepy or maddening annoying.

    John Ridley’s stern screenplay (the third Oscar win for the film) prunes the prolonged odyssey into a number of key chapters, carves out a clarified narrative arc while enlivening the jaded souls with terse lines full of understated connotations; Hans Zimmer’s score mingles with the movie’s awe-inspiring presentation of a history should never be forgotten, tallies with the credence of viewers’ spontaneity, unobtrusive, but superbly competent alongside this epic voyage, if you can stick to the very end, it is a film can sublimate your moral sentience, and Steve McQueen is a filmic wizard of sublime gravitas, at the age of 45, we can optimistically hope that his best has yet to come.
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  11. 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
  12. Oct 21, 2013
    8
    This year's supposed Oscar front runner is a well crafted but brutalising drama about slavery that certainly makes you comprehend the horror of it all. Not quite the masterpiece that I was hoping for but good never the less. Steve McQueen's direction has the scope of an epic but the feel is really quite intimate. The writing is so wonderful that at times it feels almost poetic and theThis year's supposed Oscar front runner is a well crafted but brutalising drama about slavery that certainly makes you comprehend the horror of it all. Not quite the masterpiece that I was hoping for but good never the less. Steve McQueen's direction has the scope of an epic but the feel is really quite intimate. The writing is so wonderful that at times it feels almost poetic and the actors articulate every word to perfection. Period detail is also tops and the cinematography is just ravishing in its beauty, possibly the best I have seen this year so far. The Music also, which has a similarity to McQueen's 'Shame', adds gravitas.

    Amongst a veritable feast of performances only Brad Pitt's indifferent turn fails to hit the mark. I was particularly impressed with Paul Dano (always a good baddie) as Benedict Cumberbatch's power obsessed over seer; Michael Fassbender as the cruel plantation owner; Sarah Paulson as his cold and jealous wife and Lupita Nyong'o as the tragic Patsey. In the lead role as Solomon, kidnapped from his home and sold into slavery for 12 years, Chiwetel Ejiofor conveys with frustration and anger the injustice of the situation in which he finds himself. It is a subtle and impressive performance which culminates in a well earned emotional pay of when he and his family are finally re-united. In all honesty it is only a slight over length and minuscule repetition that prevents this important story from achieving true movie greatness.
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  13. Mar 8, 2014
    8
    The film is lengthy and it did lose me about halfway/three-fourths of the way win but when it had me it had me by the balls. At its best this film is amazing providing one of the most engaging, emotional, and powerful films to come out this year. This movie is a must watch for any film buff. Filmmaking can be an art and with some excellent cinematography you can create some powerfulThe film is lengthy and it did lose me about halfway/three-fourths of the way win but when it had me it had me by the balls. At its best this film is amazing providing one of the most engaging, emotional, and powerful films to come out this year. This movie is a must watch for any film buff. Filmmaking can be an art and with some excellent cinematography you can create some powerful moments and this film does that. Expand
  14. 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
  15. Oct 19, 2013
    9
    This is one those movie experiences where it's just so good, but it's just incredibly tough to watch! It's such a moving experience. It was filled with tremendous acting, especially from Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender! Plus it showed a great direction coming from Steve McQueen! Overall, it's one of the most powerful movies I've ever seen! Fair warning though, watch at your own risk.
  16. 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.
  17. Mar 29, 2015
    9
    "12 Years a Slave" is arresting, a film that needs to be watched and is easily the best movie that touches on the topic of slavery. Even more so, it is a film that is both informative, extraordinarily emotional, and an incredible eye-opener to slavery's mental destruction to man.
  18. 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.
  19. Feb 28, 2014
    9
    It's always interesting to see a movie based on real events. Some of them are breathtaking, so it is but in a heart-wrecking way. It is not like someone who lost at sea for months or someone who trapped on an island for years. It is slavery, very cruel and harsh form of torture that takes one's freedom away.

    This true story occurred back in 1841, nearly 170 years ago. A New Yorker
    It's always interesting to see a movie based on real events. Some of them are breathtaking, so it is but in a heart-wrecking way. It is not like someone who lost at sea for months or someone who trapped on an island for years. It is slavery, very cruel and harsh form of torture that takes one's freedom away.

    This true story occurred back in 1841, nearly 170 years ago. A New Yorker Solomon Northup, a born-free black American was kidnapped and sold into slavery. So his journey into the dark world begins after he was assigned to work in various fields. It was incredible and unbelievable sad journey of those 12 years till he gets his freedom back.

    After the movie 'Shame' Steve McQueen retained his favourite actor Michale Fassbender to play in a prominent role for the third time for this historical epic drama. As usual, he became the ambassador to McQueen's movie along with great performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor. The movie was captured in beautiful places of Louisiana. The unknown supporting cast was also given great support with their small roles in the story.

    It was a good adaptation, but dialogues were very weak. There's no strong lines said anywhere in the movie or any memorable and rememberable. I believed the movie transformed exactly as the book says, I mean the original edition one. This movie is not appreciable for its contents because it was evilfull, but for bringing back the truth to the todays audience. It was acknowledgeable hard work for the cast and crew. So this movie will be recognised in big stages that mean the Oscar is not far away to fetch for McQueen and Chiwetel.
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  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. Lyn
    Jan 2, 2014
    10
    Haven't seen all of the year's "best" yet, but cannot imagine that I will see a film better than this one. Although grim and hard to watch at times, it affected me deeply with its combination of intensely awful actions and intensely beautiful cinematography. Chiwitel Ejiofor's performance is stunning. Perhaps the one "off" note was Brad Pitt's turn as the low-key guy who saunters in andHaven't seen all of the year's "best" yet, but cannot imagine that I will see a film better than this one. Although grim and hard to watch at times, it affected me deeply with its combination of intensely awful actions and intensely beautiful cinematography. Chiwitel Ejiofor's performance is stunning. Perhaps the one "off" note was Brad Pitt's turn as the low-key guy who saunters in and acts as savior but I guess somebody had to do it. Expand
  23. May 25, 2014
    8
    12 Years a Slave was just astounding im at a loss for words of how great of a film this is. Steve McQueen blew me away with this film and if i had seen this in 2013 no doubt would it had been hard to choose between this and Gravity. Luckally i don't have to pick and that 12 Years a Slave has the best chance to be the best movie in 2014.

    Solomon Northup is a well educated free black man
    12 Years a Slave was just astounding im at a loss for words of how great of a film this is. Steve McQueen blew me away with this film and if i had seen this in 2013 no doubt would it had been hard to choose between this and Gravity. Luckally i don't have to pick and that 12 Years a Slave has the best chance to be the best movie in 2014.

    Solomon Northup is a well educated free black man that lives in Saratoga, New York with his family. While his family is off on a trip he decides to work for these people claiming to work for the circus he has dinner with the two men then starts to get sick they help him to his room as he is passing out. He wakes up after being drugged and is told he is now a slave heading to the south.

    He ends up being sold to a man named Ford (Cumberbatch) a small mill owner. Ford takes a liking to Solomon but soon has to sell him to Edwin Epps(Fassbender) a crual and ruthless man so he can pay off his debt. Years go by and we see Solomon trying to survive but with each day and with everything he sees it get's harder harder for him to go on. Plan after plan of his keeps failing and he starts to think he may never go home.

    The movie is so powerful and the unbelievable acting of Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender make this film a much watch for everyone I guess for some though it can be hard to watch at times. The cinematography from Steve McQueen was amazing and the Score from Hans Zimmer was breathtaking

    Overall i give it a 8.0
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  24. Nov 5, 2013
    10
    Wildly ambitious but restrained, 12 YEARS A SLAVE is an absolutely astonishing accomplishment. That rare mainstream work that draws us in through a character's strict POV but makes a huge statement and while examining a system of slavery built on torture, brutality and greed. 12 YEARS A SLAVE is a major work that should be required viewing for all human beings. It's that good.
  25. Jan 7, 2014
    9
    Ejiofor e Fassbender já fazem o filme valer a pena.
  26. Feb 4, 2014
    10
    '12 Years a Slave' amazes with its attention to detail and authenticity regarding the lives led by slaves. It was well researched and refrained from creating drama to add spice.

    From the very first scene, McQueen wastes no time in plunging us into the daily, ordinary lives of black slaves of the nineteenth century Deep South. Interlaced with the present story that we're being shown
    '12 Years a Slave' amazes with its attention to detail and authenticity regarding the lives led by slaves. It was well researched and refrained from creating drama to add spice.

    From the very first scene, McQueen wastes no time in plunging us into the daily, ordinary lives of black slaves of the nineteenth century Deep South. Interlaced with the present story that we're being shown where the protagonist, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), is already a slave, a series of flashbacks flesh out his previous life as a free man in the North. He has a wife and kids, and leads a normal life just like the white people who surround him. He is introduced to people who promise him good income as a violinist in the capital. He agrees and leaves his family behind in New York for an intended period of two weeks. He is lulled into a false sense of security and drinks more than he should have. When he wakes up he finds himself in chains confronted by men who insist on calling him a slave.

    I got the impression that those of the African extraction who were born free are inherently different from those who were born into slavery. They think and speak freely and have a different view to life. Those who were born into slavery seem to have embraced their fate. There was an interesting scene where a slave walks into a shop and stares in amazement at Northup when he was a free man in New York.

    Paul Giamatti plays a slave-trader who has them stand naked as potential customers roam about and inspect them before making a purchase. He divides children from their mothers without a second thought. It is here that Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) buys Northup. McQueen doesn't take it easy on the children we have seen just because we might have developed sympathy for them, for to do so would be a gross betrayal to the ones whose stories no one narrated and their anguish never revealed, and to keep them safe would suggest that this was the norm where in reality it might have been an exception.

    John Tibeats (Paul Dano) comes across as someone who never might have thought about the ethics of slavery once in his life. He is instantly recognizable. There are a lot of people like him who go about their lives without letting their thoughts stray into areas that demand serious discussions like philosophy, the arts, poverty, war etc. They came into this world to lead their lives like sheep, eating well, wearing and spending extravagantly, and having a general good time. If they were picked up and dropped into a time when slavery was legal, they would not once flinch or utter a word against it as long as they belonged to the group that was doing the slaving. Tibeats resents the fact that Ford has grown fond of Northup, and the latter's quick wit and high words offend him.

    Northup's next owner, Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), puts him to picking cotton in the fields with his other slaves. He derives his own interpretations from the Bible sanctioning slavery, and lashes them accordingly. Sometimes he has them brought into the house in the middle of the night and dance around. Epps's wife is jealous of a slave girl and abuses her constantly. She can't seem to grasp the fact that if her husband paid special attention to a slave, it was his fault and not the latter's. She constantly threatens the slaves and taunts her husband to be more tough on them to keep them in line. When she offers them respite, she expects gratitude. Husband and wife bring the worst out of each other. But Epps is the epitome of psychopathy. He bullies with his every word. It is a constant struggle for Northup not to incite anger and have his master lunge at him with murderous intention.

    Deaths among the slaves happen without any alarm being raised. Some of the black people have had it easy on them courtesy of their owners. They even had servants and slaves serving them in a few cases. Northup becomes a part of the community, but he still tries to reach his family and friends somehow to inform them about his situation. He trusts in someone who betrays him, and barely escapes death. Northup is finally able to reunite with his family, but not before we witness possibly some of the worst scenes of barbarity displayed anywhere on film.

    At moments the score is so quiet it's almost imperceptible, but complements the scenes perfectly. The production design and costume design paints a vivid picture of the time. There's a simplicity and mundaneness to everything from the way the slaves toil everyday to their time spent privately. The film was edited with ingenuity. Both narratives develop side by side and complement each other. Instead of a beginning where we might have wondered when Northup was going to be banged up, we see him as a slave from the very first shot. And the flashbacks only come when they are relevant to the present story. Northup's character development was palpable and poignant.

    McQueen has promoted himself to the A-list with this masterpiece of the highest order.
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  27. Oct 18, 2013
    10
    Chiwetel Ejiofor is so impressive in this incredibly intense, visceral film. (When it ended, nobody in my theater moved for a period of time, and there was no round of applause mostly, it seemed, because of the shock of it all. Clapping didn’t seem like the right thing to do.) The fact that we experience the story from the perspective of a kidnapped free man makes the film instantlyChiwetel Ejiofor is so impressive in this incredibly intense, visceral film. (When it ended, nobody in my theater moved for a period of time, and there was no round of applause mostly, it seemed, because of the shock of it all. Clapping didn’t seem like the right thing to do.) The fact that we experience the story from the perspective of a kidnapped free man makes the film instantly relatable. I was so happy to have watched all of Tom Fontana’s excellent “Copper” which features an African American civil war veteran doctor living in New York, and all of his family’s struggles in Five Points. Solomon, a New Yorker kidnapped from Washington DC, could be any of us. The Southern landscape as it likely existed in those days provides such a beautiful-yet- eerie backdrop to this movie. What I particularly appreciate the fact that all the shots are confined you never see very far into the distance. There’s never any perspective on things. When the boat transporting the kidnapped south moves, you see the paddlewheels. On the plantations, you see the three or four acres where the slaves live. You never get any aerial shots, which is so effective in giving you a disoriented, lost feel. Even if Solomon wants to escape, he has no idea where the hell he is, and neither do we. The acting in general is uniformly excellent. Fassbender? Wow. Not since Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List has an actor put out so completely for the detestable guy role and to such great effect. Expand
  28. BKM
    Nov 20, 2013
    8
    While I don't think that it's quite the masterpiece that it's being hailed as, Steve McQueen's take on one of the darkest chapters in American history is fascinating never the less. The depiction of the horrific lives led by slaves has rarely,if ever, been captured with so much honesty and complexity. The performances are exceptional, particularly Fassbender as the sadistic plantationWhile I don't think that it's quite the masterpiece that it's being hailed as, Steve McQueen's take on one of the darkest chapters in American history is fascinating never the less. The depiction of the horrific lives led by slaves has rarely,if ever, been captured with so much honesty and complexity. The performances are exceptional, particularly Fassbender as the sadistic plantation owner who embodies all of the malice and hatred that allowed such an unspeakable era to forever scar our collective consciousness. Expand
  29. Feb 28, 2014
    9
    This review of “Twelve Years a Slave” is late in coming since I, like many others, was reluctant to see it because of its raw and powerful displays of brutality. After all, the film experience should be pleasurable and something to enjoy. Nevertheless, I took the opportunity to view the film on a DVD a friend generously loaned to us. As I watched the film my concerns were indeed realizedThis review of “Twelve Years a Slave” is late in coming since I, like many others, was reluctant to see it because of its raw and powerful displays of brutality. After all, the film experience should be pleasurable and something to enjoy. Nevertheless, I took the opportunity to view the film on a DVD a friend generously loaned to us. As I watched the film my concerns were indeed realized for some of the scenes were certainly uncomfortable to watch. However It was worth the 10 or 15 total minutes of discomfort to be able to be artistically exhilarated as we saw inhumanity and dignity oppose each other in what was the then mentality and norm of the slave genre and the society that embraced it. The acting of Chiwitel Ejifor, the writing of John Ridley and the direction of Steve McQueen make this a rewarding theatrical experience which the viewer will find difficult to forget or even equal. The film tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a cultured and well respected African American northerner, who is kidnapped and then sold into slavery by his abductors and ends up spending 12 years on one or more southern plantations. It’s easy for an audience member, black or white, to identify with the lead character and that is what makes the film work so well. Massive suffering among thousands is a broad and almost meaningless phrase when compared to describing the plight of one individual. It is something the viewer can more readily identify with and understand. I give this film a 9. To those who may still be reluctant to see it, think of it as historical medicine. It will enrich your minds and help us understand even more the oppression and bigotry that once infected our nation. Expand
  30. 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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  31. 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.
  32. Jan 6, 2014
    10
    Excellent visuals and a strength of resisting the urge to squeeze modern politics into this classic tale brings it to the top of 2013. This story is one that may be difficult to watch if you are squeemish and want some superhero to fly in and carry them all away. It is important though, and gives a well rounded view of the times. It also holds back on the stereotypes that plague almostExcellent visuals and a strength of resisting the urge to squeeze modern politics into this classic tale brings it to the top of 2013. This story is one that may be difficult to watch if you are squeemish and want some superhero to fly in and carry them all away. It is important though, and gives a well rounded view of the times. It also holds back on the stereotypes that plague almost every other movie on this subject matter. Home run. Expand
  33. Nov 4, 2013
    9
    This is a movie after the book with the same name by Solomon Northup It is a story of a free black man from New York state who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.

    This is a great movie, intense and very well done. Plenty of graphic and cruel details which would make it hard to watch for some. But we have to know our history. The movie is somewhat un-even, some scenes are better than
    This is a movie after the book with the same name by Solomon Northup It is a story of a free black man from New York state who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.

    This is a great movie, intense and very well done. Plenty of graphic and cruel details which would make it hard to watch for some. But we have to know our history. The movie is somewhat un-even, some scenes are better than others. So, I do not give it 10 but 9 out of 10.

    This is one of the best movies of the year so far.
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  34. Oct 20, 2013
    10
    According to Solomon Northup's "Twelve Years a Slave," he tells a true story about a free black man was bondage for twelve years. Steve McQueen ("Hunger" and "Shame") has directed his true masterpiece of an African American citizen from Saratoga, New York was kidnapped by two strangers and he was forced into slavery from 1841 through 1853. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who portrays as Solomon Northup,According to Solomon Northup's "Twelve Years a Slave," he tells a true story about a free black man was bondage for twelve years. Steve McQueen ("Hunger" and "Shame") has directed his true masterpiece of an African American citizen from Saratoga, New York was kidnapped by two strangers and he was forced into slavery from 1841 through 1853. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who portrays as Solomon Northup, plays a wonderful performance and the cast did an excellent job including, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Brad Pitt. Mr. McQueen shows the entire film of taking back in time of where Solomon Northup was kept in slavery with possible events like he has to command orders by working, he needs to survive while he's on control, and he stands himself to face opportunity for becoming a slave. This film is amazing true event about a free black man was bondage in twelve years. It's a powerful, emotional, and gripping movie I ever seen and it's one of the best year's of 2013! Thanks to Steve McQueen for creating an inspiring movie and it tells a great message about a survival became slavery for his past journey. Expand
  35. Apr 21, 2014
    9
    A great, great film about a free man who is abducted and sold into slavery. It is a very sad tale and shows how racist we used to be and how bad slavery really was. A great cast with many great acting performances. Michael Fassbenders character was crazy and he did a fantastic job with his role. A great movie deserving of the best picture Oscar this year.
  36. 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
  37. Feb 13, 2014
    8
    12 Years a Slave is probably the film that portrayed more accurately the subjet of slavery. Compare it with Django Unchained is nonsense, because the goal of Tarantino was show and evaluate vengeance in the hands of a slave. In contrast 12 Years a Slave seeks to exhibit the life of slaves, seeming more a documentary that a fiction movie. That is why the idea is not to feel sorry for the12 Years a Slave is probably the film that portrayed more accurately the subjet of slavery. Compare it with Django Unchained is nonsense, because the goal of Tarantino was show and evaluate vengeance in the hands of a slave. In contrast 12 Years a Slave seeks to exhibit the life of slaves, seeming more a documentary that a fiction movie. That is why the idea is not to feel sorry for the protagonist or to cheer for him, it is simply to learn about this topic and do not forget of what we did in the past. The only problem of this film is lack of message, besides showing what was slavery and that is not escape from it, there is not much below. Although if McQueen wanted to have something below, it would not be possible to make the movie like a documentary. Despite all that McQueen gives us an excellent job, the script is also very good, the cast is amazing, specially Ejiofor, Fassbender and Cumberbatch, but Lupita Nyong'o surprised me a lot. Expand
  38. 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
  39. 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.
  40. Jun 26, 2015
    10
    A powerful film about the true level of brutality of Slavery in America its a powerfully dynamic film of hope and courage.

    a triumph against the atrocities of man, its the greatest true story since Schindler's List and still a spectacular masterpiece, yet a film not for the faint of heart
  41. 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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  42. 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
  43. Nov 3, 2013
    8
    12 Years A Slave showed us one of the ugly page of american history, and does so realistically with high degree of drama. Acting as well as writing in this movie is oscar worthy! But it's not perfect, some scenes are better be cut off, some characters are pointless! Overall it's great but depressing picture
  44. 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!
  45. May 15, 2015
    10
    This is an incredible movie. Much as I'm inclined to take a skeptical eye to everything, this film is about as genuine and nuanced as a two hour runtime could possibly allow. You get a sense of free life, and the horrors of slavery are thoroughly depicted, but you also see enough to show it isn't as simple as it looks. The film's many white slaveholders are diverse. All complicit, but someThis is an incredible movie. Much as I'm inclined to take a skeptical eye to everything, this film is about as genuine and nuanced as a two hour runtime could possibly allow. You get a sense of free life, and the horrors of slavery are thoroughly depicted, but you also see enough to show it isn't as simple as it looks. The film's many white slaveholders are diverse. All complicit, but some more sympathetic and rational than others. Tellingly, the women are just as bigoted and sadistic as the men, if not more so, and it's very rare to see gender equality of that sort portrayed. And of course, at the end of the twelve years, some whites are on the side of righteousness. The slaves are likewise diverse in their personalities, and compelling to watch.

    The film is beautiful, and showcases the pastoral rural scenery, contrasting it with the sickening violence. Its historical accuracy isn't perfect (certainly, the real Solomon Northrup wouldn't have had such white teeth), but altogether seems to be close to the historical record, and the real story is of course remarkable as told by the man who lived it. It definitely deserved to see the screen.

    The one sour note for me was the score, which is distracting when it comes in. Hans Zimmer has done great Hollywood scores, but I would have preferred they stuck with incidental music in the form of Negro Spirituals, or at least had gotten a less mainstream composer. That being said, the many great actors, dazzling craftsmanship of film, and compelling narrative are every bit deserving of the high praise this film has already received. Even if you're not normally interested in a downer, this would be the time to make an exception.
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  46. Jan 16, 2014
    10
    This movie is the best of 2013, (while Gravity is my favorite), this movie deserves Best Picture Oscar, the acting is great, Chiwetel Ejiofor was great, and Michael Fassbender is great, now some people complain that the movie is brutal, and that's how it's meant to be, because that's how slavery was in real life, and this movie perfectly captures that emotion, that's why it is aThis movie is the best of 2013, (while Gravity is my favorite), this movie deserves Best Picture Oscar, the acting is great, Chiwetel Ejiofor was great, and Michael Fassbender is great, now some people complain that the movie is brutal, and that's how it's meant to be, because that's how slavery was in real life, and this movie perfectly captures that emotion, that's why it is a masterpiece, and why it deserves the Oscar. Expand
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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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  50. 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.
  51. 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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  52. 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.
  53. 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
  54. 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
  55. Aug 1, 2015
    8
    Prior to watching this: I have not read the book.

    Premise: Set before the Civil War, a black, free man was tricked and sold into slavery, from where he tries to escape to get back to his family Pros: 1) it has a powerful story. 2) Great acting all around. Cons: 1) It is a drama and drama may not be to everyone's taste. Score: 4/5. Worth watching it in the cinema. Who
    Prior to watching this: I have not read the book.

    Premise: Set before the Civil War, a black, free man was tricked and sold into slavery, from where he tries to escape to get back to his family

    Pros:
    1) it has a powerful story.
    2) Great acting all around.

    Cons:
    1) It is a drama and drama may not be to everyone's taste.

    Score: 4/5. Worth watching it in the cinema.

    Who would be satisfied with this? The elder you are, the more you would like this.
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  56. 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
  57. Feb 9, 2014
    10
    This film makes The Shawshank Redemption look like King Arthur.

    Never have I been stunned into an emotional silence after watching a film in the theater. Literally. Never. I've come out of films before thinking "My god, that was unbelievable", like when I saw the Lord of the Rings for the first time, but this film just hits you on another level entirely. You sit there after its over,
    This film makes The Shawshank Redemption look like King Arthur.

    Never have I been stunned into an emotional silence after watching a film in the theater. Literally. Never. I've come out of films before thinking "My god, that was unbelievable", like when I saw the Lord of the Rings for the first time, but this film just hits you on another level entirely. You sit there after its over, wondering if what you'd just experienced was real. The day after, you feel the same. It's like seeing your favourite band live - you have trouble believing it at the time, and you still have trouble believing you ever saw them a week after.

    One of the most vivid depictions of slavery ever put to film with phenomenal performances from Ejiofor and Nyong'o, but the real stand out performance here is Michael Fassbender. Combined with excellent cinematography from Sean Bobbitt, a very tight script by John Ridley, excellent direction by Steve McQueen, beautiful editing by Joe Walker and a great score by Hans Zimmer that greatly marries modern orchestral work with contemporary music, serving to underscore the emotions of the film rather than intrude into the film's actual story.

    While it may not be a film that you can watch repeatedly - I think everyone needs to see this film at least once. A very, very important film.
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  58. 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.
  59. 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
  60. 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.
  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. Jul 7, 2015
    7
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  64. 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.
  65. Nov 2, 2013
    10
    "12 years A Slave" is beautifully written with well crafted performances from the actors and actresses bringing the script to life. The film is brilliant and powerful, reminding audiences what this nation was built upon and how it shaped the course of history. Some scenes in the film was so painful to watch, it was hard to look at the screen. The performances of each actors from Chiwetel"12 years A Slave" is beautifully written with well crafted performances from the actors and actresses bringing the script to life. The film is brilliant and powerful, reminding audiences what this nation was built upon and how it shaped the course of history. Some scenes in the film was so painful to watch, it was hard to look at the screen. The performances of each actors from Chiwetel Ejiofor, Paul Giamatti, Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'o was so moving and believable that audiences can feel every bit of the suffering, loss and despair the characters they portrayed. This is definitely going to be the movie to remember of the year and easily a contender for Best Picture, Directing and Cast. Expand
  66. Mar 16, 2014
    9
    Lo más curioso de este proyecto es que, varios años antes de 12 Years a Slave, se le había premiado al director Steve McQueen como "Futuro Talento Cinematográfico". Nunca se equivocan. 12 Years a Slave es fiel a los relatos de Salomon Northup y con un reparto exquisito demuestra que hasta el día de hoy se marca y se hace recuerdo de una parte de la historia americana (y del resto del mundoLo más curioso de este proyecto es que, varios años antes de 12 Years a Slave, se le había premiado al director Steve McQueen como "Futuro Talento Cinematográfico". Nunca se equivocan. 12 Years a Slave es fiel a los relatos de Salomon Northup y con un reparto exquisito demuestra que hasta el día de hoy se marca y se hace recuerdo de una parte de la historia americana (y del resto del mundo en parte) que nos provoca mirar hacia atrás y sentirnos avergonzados de lo que alguna vez fuimos, pues la película hace mucho hincapié en la falta de humanidad de ese entonces cuando las personas de África eran esclavizadas y maltratadas hasta un punto que resulta imposible. Digna ganadora del Premio Óscar y digna de pagar una entrada para ir a verla. Expand
  67. 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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  68. Nov 25, 2013
    8
    I found this movie to be great but not perfect. I read every yellow or red user review, and found nearly every claim or sentiment in them to be nonsense. I will comment on them as a whole here.

    solutions10: The movie is not unnecessary. The movie doesn't need to be plotted in the way that an action-thriller screenwriting 101 movie is. Not every movie needs to be "entertaining" in
    I found this movie to be great but not perfect. I read every yellow or red user review, and found nearly every claim or sentiment in them to be nonsense. I will comment on them as a whole here.

    solutions10:
    The movie is not unnecessary. The movie doesn't need to be plotted in the way that an action-thriller screenwriting 101 movie is. Not every movie needs to be "entertaining" in the way that some people demand. The various slave owners were different people with different personalities. A movie is not obliged to fit a genre.
    ErikTheRed:
    I find it absolutely stupefying that you would object to the movie as full of stereotypes, excessive brutality and sadism, and not made for a noble purpose; AND THEN suggest a Tarantino movie instead.
    EvanB:
    How does it 'go nowhere'? What message did you want it to have? What would happen if someone tried to make a movie that didn't have a message you could summarize in a short sentence? Did you notice zero changes in Solomon's character?
    GreatMartin:
    I agree that the out-of-order sequence or repetition of moments may have lost more than it gained, but it did serve to underline the thoughts and emotions of Solomon. I can't agree that some of the long takes and transitions "should have moved quicker". I thought they were quite right for this movie.
    twenty-twenty:
    You watched a movie about a free man sold into slavery for twelve years and you have a problem with the suffering in it? I don't see how the movie would have been better if they also included some of the joking around or dancing or Sunday naps or that the slaves took, to round out the picture. Not every single white character in this movie is evil; I think you may have forgotten at least 4 characters.
    2thepoint:
    As *I* stood back and looked at this film objectively, I found it to be excellent. Part of that excellence was how it worked on my emotions, without manipulating them. I don't understand what was unintelligible.
    killingspree:
    I'm white and a centrist, and the movie did not make me feel guilty. I would guess that you watched this movie while imagining someone you hate watching this movie. I watched this movie imagining the life of a free man kidnapped and sold into slavery. It made me think and feel new things. Also, I'm a little bit worried about your screen-name.
    ramsaypalmer:
    For everything you said, it seems that you should have recommended a few of these movies that you had in mind. As far as the realism and acting, the whole movie struck me as having a 'heightened realism' tone, not pure realism, and not pure stylization. I think this 'heightened realism' is reflected through the movie, as in the long transitions in the middle of the movie where the sound from the previous scene affects our understanding of the new scene [a slave woman sobbing at night the next morning a slave owner reads scripture to all the slaves].
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  69. 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.
  70. Mar 30, 2014
    7
    It ends up being really predictably, well at least partially. Of course, at the end, that´s what you expect. Really good acting and directing. Excellent design.
  71. May 5, 2014
    10
    Ok, so I was a little late to the party with this film, eh? Well, better late than never, right? Correct, and I'm so glad I finally got to see this phenomenal movie. This movie touched me so differently than other movies have this year. I'm not even a big fan of movies about history, so this movie is for everyone if you appreciate things like this. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, in thisOk, so I was a little late to the party with this film, eh? Well, better late than never, right? Correct, and I'm so glad I finally got to see this phenomenal movie. This movie touched me so differently than other movies have this year. I'm not even a big fan of movies about history, so this movie is for everyone if you appreciate things like this. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, in this film does an amazing, flawless performance. They perform each scene wonderfully and the writing/script compliments it all. The whole story is truly sad and touching. A free man gets kidnapped and is sold into the cruel subject of slavery. No movie has portrayed this time period in America as accurately and greatly as this. You know how some lame movies about slavery never really show how brutal the caucasians were to the blacks? This movie has brutal scenes that are NOT easy to watch. I'm not gonna lie. The first master Solomon is sold to is actually not a huge psychopath jerk that you'd think these kind of men would be. Man, the second one though? A HUGE maniacal jerk. Michael Fassbender really shows the audience how cruel this character was. Also, one of my other favorite, best characters is Lupita. Every single character, like I said, is perfect and they're equal in terms of quality. Where it was filmed is also a great setting. I'm telling you though, 12 Years a Slave is a movie that is so sympathetic that it really will touch you and break your heart at times. The ending is something that might even make you shed a tear for this amazing man. I did. Don't you already get the gist that this movie is amazing in every aspect? You should, and if you haven't seen this film yet, I highly advise with all my mind. Like I said, it isn't an easy watch. However, that doesn't mean it isn't WORTH watching, and it is in every, single way. Expand
  72. 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
  73. 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.
  74. 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.....................
  75. Dec 31, 2013
    9
    By far the most emotionally powerful film of the year. Also with great performances from everyone, especially Michael Fassbender who played a washed up drunk who abused himself along with his innocent slaves. Yes, it is an awkward and touchy subject at times, not just this one, but many others in the past and probably much more to come. However don't go thinking it's "Django Unchained", itBy far the most emotionally powerful film of the year. Also with great performances from everyone, especially Michael Fassbender who played a washed up drunk who abused himself along with his innocent slaves. Yes, it is an awkward and touchy subject at times, not just this one, but many others in the past and probably much more to come. However don't go thinking it's "Django Unchained", it is a factual story about a free man who was tricked into slavery through the passing of 12 years. I love movies over time, and that's what the film does, and it's actually kind of beautiful, even if Solomon's path was dark and gruesome. Throughout the film he'll meet terrible people and great people, it sort of reminded me of Forrest Gump because of its passing of time. The spirit, adventure and heart that Solomon has is what keeps him interesting and alive, and he almost feels nurturing. He feels the pain for others and cares about them, he would put himself in risk if it meant helping others. Yes, 12 Years a Slave is one of the best films you'll see this year.

    12 Years a Slave gets 9.3/10
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  76. 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
  77. 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
  78. 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。
  79. 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.
  80. Jan 25, 2014
    10
    12 years a slave was a brilliant film. The film was so well done the acting was great the directing was great, the story was interesting and in intense scenes the tension was held brilliantly. It is Overall a great film 10/10
  81. Jan 22, 2014
    10
    Probably the most powerful film I've ever seen. The directing is absolutely spot on and the acting is world class. I can't really say too much about this film because I don't want to ruin it, but anyone who wants to watch it I highly recommend it. I can tell this is a film which we'll all still be talking about in 10-20 years time.
  82. 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.
  83. 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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  84. Jun 2, 2015
    10
    This film is a true eye opener to the very wicked past of the human race. I am delighted that we no longer live in this type of society. This film is fantastic, great acting and full of emotions. Buy it!!
  85. 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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  86. 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
  87. Feb 4, 2014
    9
    Es casi una obra maestra, mi unica critica negativa es en los momentos largos de secuencia que muestra
    el sufrimiento y algunas escenas que pueden volverse muy tediosas.
  88. 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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  89. Nov 23, 2013
    9
    Steve McQueen truly composes his magnum opus; a film of gut-wrenching realism that emphasizes the horrors of slavery. Truly, supreme acting, a beautiful score, and culturally accurate detail that could have fooled you that McQueen had been there himself.
  90. 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.
  91. Aug 20, 2015
    10
    GOD DAMN!!!!

    The only move I can begin to compare this to is Schindler's List. But, possibly worse. It shows the brutality and inhumanities throw upon the slave, but where as Schindler's list was a broad view of a deeply disturbing subject, this movie throws it right in your face, and makes you feel EVERY personal moment. It's more character driven, and at pints can me it feel
    GOD DAMN!!!!

    The only move I can begin to compare this to is Schindler's List. But, possibly worse.

    It shows the brutality and inhumanities throw upon the slave, but where as Schindler's list was a broad view of a deeply disturbing subject, this movie throws it right in your face, and makes you feel EVERY personal moment.

    It's more character driven, and at pints can me it feel that much worse.
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  92. Dec 5, 2013
    10
    This movie should be shown in schools. This movie can teach and explain better than any other movie has ever. It really hits it out of the park. A great performance all around and my favorite movie of the year so far.
  93. Mar 24, 2014
    9
    ''Fearless!'' ''Unforgettable.'' ''Electrifying.'' ''One Of The Best Films Ever Made!'' This is the movie you should watch in focus. One of the most Important film you're ever going to see.
  94. 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
  95. 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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  96. Nov 23, 2013
    9
    A masterful film filled with disgusting yet beautiful imagery. An all star cast with great performances by everyone. This film is not for the faint of heart.
  97. Jan 27, 2014
    10
    I was extremely tired and sleepy when I decided to watch de movie. When I finished, the last thing on my mind was my bed. The amazing job of Steve McQueen on making the film the most shocking as possible attached me to the screen from the beginning to the end of the story.
  98. 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
  99. Feb 25, 2014
    10
    I cried...
    Several times.
    I think it is very appropriate to start my review by saying those words. In an age where showing our emotion in public is apparently a taboo. Needless to say, apart from a few heartless sods, I was not the only one who left the local theatre wiping tears from my cheeks. Putting it simply, 12 Years A Slave is superb. The way I see it, this should become the
    I cried...
    Several times.

    I think it is very appropriate to start my review by saying those words. In an age where showing our emotion in public is apparently a taboo. Needless to say, apart from a few heartless sods, I was not the only one who left the local theatre wiping tears from my cheeks.

    Putting it simply, 12 Years A Slave is superb. The way I see it, this should become the staple period-piece film. It is a film that shows us a dark, visceral story of a point in time that the American government would much rather sweep under the rug.

    It is a triumphant story of loss and despair, but also of remarkable perseverance and resolve.
    The simplicity of the plot leaves the weight of its success on the individual scenes and phenomenal writing. The great cast and setting meld together perfectly.

    In a year of phenomenal films, 12 Years A Slave comes out on par with many others, if not slightly above.
    I hope that in a few years, this might be the film that is shown in history classes. It is not something that should be watched for the sake of the film, it is something that has to be watched because of the horrific times which its characters live in.

    A 10 out of 10.

    Jack Valentine
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  100. 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.
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.