12 Years a Slave Reviews

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Rob Gonsalves
eFilmCritic.com
July 14, 2015
McQueen approaches the narrative straight on and sober, with long, long takes bearing the weight of cruelty.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Sean Burns
The Improper Bostonian
May 12, 2015
We've seen movies about the horrors of slavery before. This one is about the mechanics.
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 13, 2015
It speaks to the courage and resilience of one man, the savagery of many, and the potential, for both good and for ill, in us all.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Craig Mathieson
The Age (Australia)
January 13, 2015
It is so fluent and so certain -- both in its humanism and its depiction of institutionalised savagery.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Piers Marchant
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
January 13, 2015
We are surely watching one of the transcendent performances of the year in Ejiofor's sensitive, moving portrayal of the miserably oppressed Solomon.
Brad Keefe
Columbus Alive
January 13, 2015
Given the subject matter of the film, it's unsurprising to say that 12 Years a Slave is moving, but it's a testament to the filmmaking just how devastating the experience of watching it actually is.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Brian D. Johnson
Maclean's Magazine
January 13, 2015
The film belongs to Chiwetel and the remarkable ensemble that surrounds him. With McQueen, they've created a landmark picture of devastating power.
David Edwards
Daily Mirror [UK]
January 13, 2015
12 Years A Slave is a powerful, moving and intelligently unsentimental tale that is engrossing and memorable.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Gary Dowell
Dark Horizons
January 13, 2015
Easily the most powerful, compelling, devastating, and just plain blunt film about slavery ever made, Steve McQueen's adaptation of Solomon Northup's 1853 memoir, 12 Years a Slave is a raw and searing indictment.
Michael Arbeiter
Hollywood.com
January 13, 2015
Yes, we've all been enlightened unto the depletive hell that was the era of American slavery. But perhaps never, at least through cinema, have we been placed so vividly among the human beings who suffered through it.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Geoffrey Macnab
Independent
January 13, 2015
McQueen depicts the horrific experiences of Solomon Northup, the free man kidnapped and sold into slavery, in utterly unflinching fashion. The film's strength lies in its frankness and avoidance of either sentimentality or Quentin Tarantino-style irony.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Christopher Lawrence
Las Vegas Review-Journal
January 13, 2015
12 Years a Slave" is still one of the best movies of the year. It's also one of the most unsettling.
January 13, 2015
The crux of 12 Years a Slave's power comes back to Chiwetel Ejiofor. What a great, touching, tenacious performance.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Edward Johnson-Ott
NUVO Newsweekly
January 13, 2015
12 Years a Slave is the clearest view of slavery I've seen onscreen.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Norman Wilner
NOW Toronto
January 13, 2015
McQueen directs with a total lack of sentiment, crafting each sequence with a merciless forward momentum that compensates for the episodic nature of the narrative.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
January 13, 2015
As hard-hitting as this is, though, it's the muted sense of outrage and injustice coursing through every fibre of Solomon's being that lingers longest, ensuring 12 Years a Slave triumphs as a human story about an inhuman institution.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Paul Byrnes
Sydney Morning Herald
January 13, 2015
The film tells an irresistibly powerful story, in a way that does not shirk the horror. It is unbearable to watch at times, but that is as it should be.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Philip Concannon
The Skinny
January 13, 2015
The film is beautifully underplayed with an emotional undercurrent that gradually builds an accumulative force, before all of that anger and sorrow finally explodes to the surface in an unforgettable final scene.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Deborah Ross
The Spectator
January 13, 2015
You will recoil. You will flinch. You will say to yourself, 'Oh no, not again.' But the story will seize you with such a visceral power you will be rooted to the spot. I know I was and I'm not easy to root.
Alex Doenau
Trespass
January 13, 2015
Some movies have to be made, have to be seen, and no other consideration needs to be entered into.
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