12 Years a Slave - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

12 Years a Slave Reviews

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January 13, 2015
In its own saintly manner, it's as exploitative as anything critics accused Django Unchained of being, minus Tarantino's eye for idiosyncrasy and sense of humor.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
March 11, 2016
12 Years a Slave? It feels much longer.
October 18, 2013
There's a difference between an "unflinching" look at something and an unflinching look at a person desperately trying to project "unflinching." 12 Years is often upsetting for all the wrong reasons. It relegates atrocities to the level of camera tricks.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
October 17, 2013
Other than a few exceptional moments, McQueen's movie doesn't say much about the human spirit.
Full Review | Original Score: 5
January 31, 2014
Generally more concerned with making its audience wince than with forging an indelible imprint on the soul.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
October 14, 2013
[VIDEO ESSAY] If Steve McQueen would fully commit to his calling as an exploitation director, he might eventually achieve his desired effects through that more direct approach.
Full Review | Original Score: D-
February 26, 2017
It is this film's unfortunate paradox that a story with so much at stake, rendered in what could only be good faith, should translate to so little.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
January 13, 2015
A film that, despite its surface simplicity, proves to be riven with contradictions to the point of incoherence.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
October 21, 2013
Apart from caricatures-as-characters reasons, the cinematography in '12 Years a Slave' is over-prettified and distracting.
September 13, 2013
There are powerful moments in 12 Years a Slave, but they tend to happen on the margins of the action.
September 14, 2013
Steve McQueen's impersonal approach to his subject matter isn't solely to blame for the failure of 12 Years a Slave, a safely anecdotal mosaic closer in spirit to Edward P. Jones's The Known World than to Toni Morrison's radically constructed Beloved.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
November 17, 2013
A decent film, but hardly the breakthrough anti-slavery masterpiece many have claimed. It's difficult to stay in the brutal reality with A-list movie stars around every bend.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5 stars
October 16, 2013
Aside from a characteristically nuanced lead performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor... it's a picture that stays more than a few safe steps away from anything so dangerous as raw feeling.
December 22, 2013
Two hours of torture and degradation were done much better in "Saw" or "Hostel". This is not a Major Statement about slavery but one about a visual artist's preoccupation with pain--just like his misbegotten "Hunger".
February 26, 2017
A cathartic experience of sorts, 12 Years A Slave achieves something few other films do. It makes you uncomfortable.
June 13, 2016
There's real rage in this film, the type that can never be assuaged by time or blunted by forgiveness.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
June 7, 2016
See this film. Pay homage to the healing truth. A landmark film; would that it could reduce the lag time between genocides and our real-time grasp of their horrifying reality.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
April 8, 2016
The end result, while uneven, is appropriately stark, mournful, and gripping, making a deep impression on the landscape of American history on film.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
February 26, 2017
Pitiless, heartless and exceptionally intense, 12 Years a Slave is definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
February 23, 2016
12 Years a Slave is an expertly crafted, eerily beautiful film with a clear message and a lot of violence.
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