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  • Marah Heikkila

‘12 Years a Slave’ Captivating, Teaches Us Importance Of Our Collective Humanity

If you have any interest in literature, history, politics, economics, or even culture then “12

Years a Slave” may be a movie the movie for you. The film is a memoir and it takes into account a man named Solomon Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. The young man was an educated musician and carpenter with a family, and he was free, but the film then takes a turn and focus on the kidnapping of Solomon and the trials and tribulations he endures when he sold into the slave trade.

As expected, the film doesn’t hold back in the trials nor tribulations. The film specifically shows the hardships of Solomon, what he had to endure, and even the oppositions he went against. This is particularly present when he is whipped multiple times, left bleeding out as a form of punishment. As brutal as it may seem, it isn’t unrealistic, and those particular scenes were very effective and riveting since they have the potential to make the audience

feel Solomon’s pain that he deals with from having his life completely flipped upside down.

That is one thing that can’t be looked away from when watching the film: the movies raw power it offers. It is brutal and it can be gut wrenching, but seeing such images and knowing such things happened like this shows us that humanity is a necessity, that we must strive to achieve it. This film also braves a larger message, the concept of humanity and how we have to look out for one another, even in the face of adversity.

The film also does well to portray Solomon in different layers, showing the viewer that he is complex. He is well educated, but when he was sold off he had to succumb to thee subversive ideology that slaves were not literate. He had to feign himself in that way in order to survive, and it was a riveting performance given by Ejiofor.

Another character who was phenomenal was Patsey who was played by Lupita Nyong’o, Her character gives the viewer the ability to see just how colored women were treated, how female slaves were made the center of their master’s sinful eye, and how they were to pay the price for that. That is explicitly clear when her slave owner is at fault with himself because of how he feels for Patsey, yet he allows his wife to beat her, and he even beats the young woman himself. That was another scene that was brutal and harsh, but it was one that is very effective, one that the viewer may not soon forget, one that they shouldn’t forget.

“12 Years a Slave” is a captivating screenplay. It is beautifully directed, and the actors gave emotional and raw performances that didn’t fall short of being genuine or authentic. It is powerful and it is riveting. It is disheartening, but it is real, and it shows us exactly why we need to care about one another, why our humanity matters.

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