12 Years a Slave

2013, Biography/History, 2h 14m

373 Reviews 100,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

It's far from comfortable viewing, but 12 Years a Slave's unflinchingly brutal look at American slavery is also brilliant -- and quite possibly essential -- cinema. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In the years before the Civil War, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. Subjected to the cruelty of one malevolent owner (Michael Fassbender), he also finds unexpected kindness from another, as he struggles continually to survive and maintain some of his dignity. Then in the 12th year of the disheartening ordeal, a chance meeting with an abolitionist from Canada changes Solomon's life forever.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for 12 Years a Slave

Audience Reviews for 12 Years a Slave

  • Dec 27, 2019
    Soul shattering and then... mending.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Mar 29, 2016
    There are so many movies that has had a huge impact on our world as we know it, and unfortunately, not so many people watch these movies. This, however, is a movie that I believe should be shown in history classes in school's because, this really is a movie that everybody should watch. Steve McQueen once again shows us his beautiful range in this beautiful movie that surely is a so-called masterpiece.
    Lasse G Super Reviewer
  • Sep 14, 2015
    So much more than the "white guilt" label it's unfairly gotten. Steve McQueen continues to prove himself as one of the best working directors today. It's his most mainstream movie to date but this proves to me that he really know what he's doing and is careful in his selection of what to make. Everything about this movie is exceptional.
    John K Super Reviewer
  • Feb 23, 2015
    I was expecting more from this movie. While it was a very sad film, it was very slow-moving at times.
    Erin C Super Reviewer

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