12 Years a Slave - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

12 Years a Slave Reviews

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October 21, 2016
Amazing film and beautifully directed to show an insight to the real history.
October 14, 2016
It is stories like this that show you how fucked up humans have treated each other for thousands of years. It's only recently we have created the concept of 'human rights'. I very much recommend this movie. A++
October 13, 2016
Best interpretation of what slavery was like
October 12, 2016
This is the best movie of 2013. "12 Years a Slave" is without a doubt the most horrifying, true depiction of slavery ever put on screen. It definitely out beats "Django Unchained" by a long shot. Directed by Steve McQueen(not the actor) who also directed "Hunger" which I have not seen yet and "Shame" has definitely made his mark as the new face of directors in Hollywood. This is without a doubt his best film he has made yet, even though I have not seen "Hunger" I did see "Shame" and that's a movie that once was enough for me. Even though "12 Years a Slave" is a movie I could not see all the time, it definitely is a must see as this is without a doubt one of the best movies ever made in my opinion and I cannot imagine "Hunger" coming anywhere as close to this movie. This movie reminded me a lot of "The Thin Red Line" especially the way the cinematography captured beautiful elements of nature in the film the way Terrence Malick captured nature in "The Thin Red Line" it almost felt that at times it was Malick behind the camera, but I had to remind myself that this is Steve McQueen, a director with a fierce vision and a story only he could have told. And I am not just saying that because Steve McQueen is black, but who knows, maybe a white director could have captured the emotion and horrifying depiction of slavery that Steve McQueen captured on film, but in the end it definitely was suited better for McQueen to direct this movie as you can tell this was a personal film for him to make. The movie stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, a free black man who gets conned into slavery by these two white men pretending to be intrigued in the fact that Solomon is exceptional at playing the violin. They tell him that they would like him to come to Washington D.C. with all expenses paid and Solomon agrees. Afterwards they attend dinner together where Solomon is overwhelmed by the two men's generosity and so they toast on that which ends up to Solomon getting terribly drunk and puking outside the restaurant where they have had dinner and the two men tell him all he needs is a good night sleep and he will be as fresh and new in the morning. But when Solomon wakes up, he is in a barracks chained up and not understanding why he is there is the first place. He tries to tell one of the white men that come into the barracks that there has been a terrible mistake and that he is a free man, but the two white men don't want to hear any of it as they begin to brutally beat him till he falls to his knees yelling at him that he is a slave from Georgia. Chiwetel's character then goes from a series of events being shipped over seas on a ship and brought to another part of the states I am assuming it is somewhere in the south where we meet Paul Giamatti in a small role as the man who sells slaves to slave ranch owners and sell Chiwetel's character to Benedict Cumberbatch along with an African American woman who ends up being seperated by her kids which makes her weep terribly for them. Chiwetel's character does what he can to stay hardy and to not fall into despair offering up his talents to Cumberbatch and impressing him as he does it, but he doesn't impress Paul Dano's character who is a snot nose piece of shit young overseer of the plantation run by Cumberbatch and is as cruel as the next overseer. Throwing every racial slur he can and Chiwetel's character to try and demean him, Chiwetel is not at will to let this little punk push him around as there is a very cruicial scene where Paul Dano's character begins yelling at Chiwetel's character Solomon because he had asked him to put the planks for the house he is building just right so they look good and Chiwetel's character tells him that he has done so and that if there is a problem with the instruction then there is a problem with the instructor and this brings Paul Dano's character to become on fire as he tell Chiwetel's character to strip down and get on his kness as he unbuckles his belt, but Chiwetel tells him he will not. As Paul Dano tries forcing him to get down on the ground Chiwetel ends up throwing Dano on the ground and beating him ferociously as he deserves with his own belt. It's a scene that made he root for Chiwetel as he was doing it, forgetting though the consequences that will fall on Chiwetel's character after he is done beating Dano. After Chiwetel is done beating Dano with his own belt, Dano promises he will get him back and that he will not live to see another day as you know this will not be good for Chiwetel's character. Once another forsser walks over to see what is going on and Chiwetel tells him exactly what happened the overseer tells him to not run off the property as he cannot protect him if he flees from Paul Dano. After Paul Dano and two other men try hanging Chiwetel the other overseer who told Chiwetel to not run comes to his aid and tells Dano at gun point that he has no right to hang Chiwetel because he is the property of Cumberbatch. Dano is furious and tells the other overseer that he has no right to interfere before taking off himself. Chiwetel endsbeing let down but still hangs by his toes as the other overseer tries to find Cumberbatch to tell him of the news and tension that has just risen between Dano and Chiwetel. Once Cumberbatch arrives back to his plantation he cuts Chiwetel down and tell him later at night inside Cumberbatch's residence that he must send Chiwetel to another slave plantation for he fears Dano will strike again until Chiwetel is dead, but before that Chiwetel tries to tell Cumberbatch who he really is, but Cumberbatch cannot hear any of it. That is when he sent to the plantation of Edwin Epps played by Michael Fassbender who gives a riveting performance as the cruel and brutal plantation slave owner. It's terrifying performance from Fassbender an d without a doubt his best one yet. Fassbender has also recently worked with Steve McQueen in "Hunger" and Shame" making them already a little bit of a DeNiro and Scorsese team. Fassbender is already one of my favorite actors to watch right now in Hollywood so it was amazing to see him play such a cruel and brutal character. The things Fassbender does to his slaves is unspeakable. And like Brad P[itt who also produced the film has a small role towards the end of the film, tells Fassbender's character that one day there will be a reckoning for what slave owners do to there slaves, but Fassbender thinks he is full of it. There is a scene that definitely will go down as one of the most brutal scenes ever captured on film where Fassbender makes Chiwetel whip one of the slaves he owns called Patsey played by Lupita Nyong'o who won Best Supporting Actress for her role which really comes out towards the end of the film, who we also learn is having an affair with Fasbender, but not by her choosing, who Fassbender goes nuts and thinks she has run away and brutally yells at his slaves asking them if they know where she has gone, but none of them know and when she does return she tells Fassbender's character that she went to get soap from the local store as she believes she is the one brings in the most cotton from the fields, twice as much than any other slave on the plantation that she has the right to be clean. Fassbender believes she is lying and forces her to be stripped and tied down to a pole where he forces Chiwetel to whip her because he cannot do it himself yelling at Chiwetel "Strike her! Strike her! Strike her!" It's a very cruicial scene to watch and after Chiwetel does whip her it is still not enough as Fassbender takes the whip from Chiwetel and whips her even more until she cannot stand anymore causing her to pass out. It's a scene that as I write this review can't help but think just how brutal we were to African Americans at that time and that it was more than a sin to what we did and that there are no words to describe the brutal actions that the plantation owners to did to African Americans in this film. It is a hard movie to watch, but at the same time you cannot look away as you are just shocked at what is being displayed on film, but this made me fell good in a way that there are still directors out there in the movie buisness who know how to make a good movie and Steve McQueen is one of them and I look very foward to see what he does next as this is without a doubt like I said before the best movie of 2013. Chiwetel gives such a commanding performance in the film as Solomon that we are with him to the very end of the movie. He definitely deserved the Oscar nomination that year for Best Actor as did Michael Fassbender for Best Supporting Actor as these two men gave commanding performances in both their roles. This is a movie to not be missed and a movie that speaks truth to what horrible things these slaves had to endure on those plantations. I believe i saw in an interview or read that Steve McQueen wondered why there were not enough movies about slavery and I don't know either, but I can conclude that it is because maybe people don't want to face the truth to how horrible the slavery era was and that people just can't face the fact that it happened and that it is America's sin as I believe I read in an article for "Django Unchained" or for "12 Years a Slave" I can't remember nut what I can gather from this film is that the truth hurts.
½ October 11, 2016
Outstanding, but very hard to watch, this movie made me cry.
October 11, 2016
If you didn't already know slavery was terrible, where the hell did you go to school? This didn't deserve an Oscar any more than Amistad did.
October 9, 2016
This movie is fantastic. It's awesome!
October 9, 2016
Harrowing, grotesque, earnest, and featuring perfect performances from Ejiofor, Fassbender, and Nyong'o, Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave" is an unwaveringly powerful look at the darkest depths humanity can stoop to.
October 1, 2016
This film may well have won the Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe for Best Picture, but unfortunately this film from director Steve McQueen is one that I was not really keen on.

The film is set in pre-Civil War United States, where a free man (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) is abducted and sold into slavery. Whilst McQueen's direction lets you see the emotion, the film can be extremely harrowing at times, and it is a very hard watch, meaning some of you may find the film uncomfortable. The film can also be confusing as well, meaning it is a little hard to try and work out what's happening.

However, because of the movie's big success from the Awards season, it does send out a very important message - that slavery is a very bad thing and it must be stopped. Don't worry if you find this to be an uncomfortable movie.
September 25, 2016
A film as powerful, gripping and heart-wrenching as it is vitally important due to its telling of a very dark foundational piece of American history. Then add to that the fact that it's based on actual events of a kidnapped free man of the north taken from his wife and children to be enslaved in the south for 12 years. As if the general injustice of slavery were not enough, legally declared free people were also kidnapped to be enslaved. The actual historical figure who wrote the original 1853 book "12 Years A Slave" was one of the few who made it out and so lived to tell the tale-and tell the tale he did! It was also fortunate that he was educated and so was able to write about the atrocities he witnessed and was on the receiving end of himself.
Brilliant work on the part of up and coming director Steve McQueen III, as well as great performances from Fassbender, Lupita and others. Kudos to Brad Pitt for producing this amazing film, even if his brief performance in it was not so great.
This is just amazing film making!
½ September 20, 2016
An interesting look into the real story of Solomon Northrop, a free black, being sold into slavery.
September 12, 2016
Prior to this film's release, the build-up and promotion was relatively quiet, especially here in the UK, however I had my eye set on the project from the start, with McQueen directing, music from Zimmer and a cast of unbelievable talent, I had high hopes. Upon viewing this film, I was swept away in a force of emotional awe, this movie is the epitome of the "modern masterpiece."

Every year, we see that one film that tries to induce an emotional attachment, from the likes of 'Million Dollar Baby' through to 'Slumdog Millionaire', however there are also those that try a little too hard and instead create a certain cringe-worthy appeal to the film, completely disregarding plot and structure for a few tearful moments. But then there are those masterpieces, the film that contains a plot, it contains an actual character we can relate to, someone we feel an emotional attachment to without having it rubbed in our faces, '12 Years a Slave' is that film.

This is not an easy film to watch, but upon doing so, there's that sense of relief; the relief you get upon viewing one of the finest films of the 21st century, if not of all time. Not another remake or sequel, but something of true original value. The story is just perfect, the unbelievable tale of a man whose life was taken away as he was forced to spend 12 years working as a slave for white masters, and for those who had never heard of Solomon Northup, upon realising this is a true story, their disbelief and shock becomes apparent. The performances are fantastic, with newcomer Chiwetel Ejiofor starring as the fateful Solomon. Each actor perfectly portraying the embodiment of evil or innocent, with a huge shout out to Fassbender for his truly terrifying performance as the ruthless Edwin Epps. With flawless direction, a stunningly emotional score (that many compare to 'Inception') and gorgeous cinematography. '12 Years a Slave' might just be the perfect film.
September 10, 2016
Plot: Solomon Northup is a good, loving, family man who is free in the United States. Suddenly things go down South from there.


12 Years a Slave is a 1853 memoir by an African-American man named Solomon Northup. Since then, his story has been adapted twice. One being a PBS special, the second being an amazing, all star cast, winner of 3 Academy Awards, and a Oscar winning 2013 film. You do not have all of these combinations, and have a poor film to show. 12 Years a Slave, is a harsh, but a sadly true subject we've seen, and read before. But I believe, 12 Years a Slave is probably the most brutal, realistic view, evil, nightmarish, heart pounding tale of American slavery since the original Roots. American slavery was awful, and Solomon Northup goes through Hell in this film. Even though this film, and its subject matter can be harsh. It is a film to view, learn from, and understand the cruelty that happened to Africans in America. I believe this is a film for everyone to see and learn from, no matter what race, religion, or region you may be from. Director Steve McQueen (Shame, Hunger, uses the best filmmaking techniques, to demonstrate the unimaginable cruelty, our main character has to through, and how our main character has to not only survive but truly live. The acting in this film is so well done. In this movie, Michael Fassbender (X-Men First Class, Jobs)is the devil. Brad Pitt (Fight Club, Oceans 12) is a good man in a cruel world. Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story)really gets under your skin, and comes off as a bully. You really feel sad for Lupita Nyong'o, and our lead, Chiwetel Ejiofor (4 Brothers, Salt) truly is an amazing actor. There are numerous scenes, when he can literally tell he has been through Hell, with just looking in his eyes. In addition, the scenery of the South is very beautiful. On the other hand, the ugliness of slavery makes the film have a very interesting contrast. Overall, I believe 12 Years a Slave is a movie everyone should see. It is a good film, that conveys a nightmarish, evil period in American history. It feels real, organic, and it is an amazing film. I am more than proud to give this film a rating of 10/10.
½ September 8, 2016
The hanging scene alone is worth the weight of 5 stars.
September 7, 2016
Oscar bait. None of the punch that Django Unchained had. Like slavery-themed ambient music.
September 6, 2016
An eloquent, beautiful, inspiring, horrifying, disturbing and striking portrayal of the darkest time in American history. Steve McQueen has crafted something devastatingly brilliant.

This is cinema's potential to make us feel truly realized. A harrowing tale of survival, faith and perseverance.
August 26, 2016
A raw movie about the truth of slavery in the 1800s and its brutalities. Ejiofor's stunning performance as Solomon Northup and Nyongo's performance as Patsey itself are great reasons to watch this masterpiece from Steve McQueen.
August 24, 2016
Puntaje Original: 8.5

Definitivamente una de las películas mas bellas que he visto; una obra maestra de Steve McQueen, tan bien trabajada desde el vesuario, la puesta en escena, la música; las excelentes actuaciones le dan mas intensidad a esta historia tan profunda sobre la esclavitud que sin lugar a dudas todo el mundo debe ver.
August 19, 2016
Absolutely Beautiful.
One of the best films ever made, based on one of the best books I have ever read.
I will recommend this film (and the book) until the day I die
August 14, 2016
Beautifully shot, excellent performances from many actors especially M. Fassbender, keeps you engaged but I could not empathize with the main character as I did not understand his willingness to accept slavery so easily. To me, the first act is by far the weakest, when it should have been a home run. I was not made to feel hope leaving the soul of the trapped protagonist so his decisions seemed out of place throughout the film.
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