Metascore
97

Universal acclaim - based on 48 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 889 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 48
  2. Negative: 0 out of 48
  1. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Sep 14, 2013
    100
    Elicits from McQueen a directing job that's compellingly humble but also majestic, because his radical showmanship is turned to such precise, human purposes.
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Oct 16, 2013
    100
    It's Ejiofor's extraordinary performance that holds 12 Years a Slave together.
  4. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Oct 17, 2013
    100
    Far from the push-button catharsis offered by most Hollywood redemption tales, the work is sober and deliberate, a mix of visceral intensity and artful design.
  5. Reviewed by: Steve Davis
    Oct 31, 2013
    100
    Brutal yet elegant, 12 Years a Slave is a beautifully rendered punch to the gut about the most shameful chapter in American history.
  6. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Oct 17, 2013
    90
    It’s the unhappiest happy ending I’ve ever seen, a moment that makes you weep not just for this one man who found his way back to freedom, but for all those men and women who never knew it in the first place.
  7. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Sep 13, 2013
    50
    Steve McQueen's film practically treats Solomon Norhtup as passive observer to a litany of horrors that exist primarily for our own education.

See all 48 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 25 out of 195
  1. PMG
    Mar 9, 2014
    10
    This movie... OH MY GOD, this movie. Okay the only flaw is that the movie never really feels like it took 12 years and aside from that...This movie... OH MY GOD, this movie. Okay the only flaw is that the movie never really feels like it took 12 years and aside from that... there are no other flaws. Amazing Acting, an emotionel journey, glories cinematography, a believeble historical seting and one of the most brutal representations of the horror of slaverie. It is difficult to watch, but this is a movie that you must see. Expand
  2. 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 EjioforThis 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
  3. 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,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 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
  4. 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.....................
  5. 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 de12 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. Expand
  6. 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 neverPowerful 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. Expand
  7. Mar 3, 2014
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Boring movie. (YAWN) I don't know how the one chick won an oscar when she was barely on screen for not even a full 20 minutes. This movie made me wanna punch everyone and where in hell did Brad Pitt come from??? 1/2 before the movie is over he just shows up. Too many scenes where we see dude, staring at who knows what, for way to long. There are better movies about slavery out there. This is not one of them. I don't understand what all the hype is all about. All I know is that I want my minutes back that I wasted on watching this boring film. Expand

See all 195 User Reviews

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