12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen and written by John Ridley,  is a 2013 historical drama film based on the autobiography Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. The film, which opens in October, has already received critical acclaim at two major film festivals.  When it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in August, movie goers said they were moved to tears and it received a standing ovation when it ended. The star studded cast is lead by Chiwetel Ejiofor , as Solomon Northup, Michael Fassbender,  newcomer Lupita Nyong’o, Brad Pitt and Quvenzhane Wallis.

Last weekend the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and many of the reviews have already given Oscar predictions to the movie. “I am composed enough to say ’12 Years A Slave’ is the best, most emotionally powerful movie I have seen in a decade, at least,” BuzzFeed senior film reporter Adam B. Vary wrote on Twitter in the first of two tweets about the film. “I would be afraid about overselling ’12 Years a Slave,’ but if you love cinema and storytelling and are human, you will understand.” Buzzfeed even had a post called “’12 Years A Slave’ Is The Must-See Movie Of The Year, And Should Win All The Oscars.”

In his recent review for The GuardianPaul MacInnes stated, “Stark, visceral and unrelenting, 12 Years a Slave is not just a great film but a necessary one. The phrase “long-awaited” has been much used to describe this third feature from British director Steve McQueen, which sees Chiwetel Ejiofor alongside Michael Fassbender in a star-studded cast. It’s a common piece of cinematic hyperbole but it also describes the function this picture serves in confronting a practice that endured in the United States of America for nearly 250 years.”

Unlike Roots, which is a fictionalized tale of slavery, 12 Years A Slave took a non-fiction account and brought it to the silver screen. Many critics have said 12 Years A Slave is the next Schindler’s List because of both movie’s ability to not only tell the tale of atrocities but to humanize them.

But why does the movie have to be a “next” anything? Where the comparison to Schindler’s List could be considered an honor within itself, the fact that the movie is about slavery and is coming out during a time in which some people feel that race relations haven’t improved in this country, 12 Years A Slave could be the wakeup call people need.


Do you plan on seeing 12 Years A Slave?

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  • MommieDearest

    “Unlike Roots, which is a fictionalized tale of slavery, 12 Years A Slave took a non-fiction account and brought it to the silver screen”


    “Roots” was based on the book by Alex Haley, which is the story of his ancestors. While he did take literary license, the people and the main events that happened are true.

    • Alex Haley’s so-called story based on his “ancestors” was highly plagiarised and proven to be. Look up Harold Courlander on wikipedia..he won a plagiarism lawsuit against him…

      In regards to Roots…”the man that Haley identifies as Kunta Kinte, a slave by the name of Toby, could not have been Kunta Kinte or Haley’s ancestor. Toby was in America as early as 1762, five years before his ship was alleged to arrive. Worse for Haley, Toby died eight years before his presumed daughter Kizzy was born.”

      Haley himself admitted that the book was highly fiction…what he liked to call faction…research showed none of the people were his ancestors.

    • Brad

      What you said is true but, my understanding is that from “George the black smith” forward was historically accurate. Now on his fathers side the story of ‘Queen” that was all historically accurate.

      So the statement none of the people were his ancestors is not exactly true.

    • I made no mention of Queen. Totally different movie. You can’t write history and have a caveat, “well before this time period..it’s all made up…after…oh, well..that’s true”. Not to rain on Haley’s parade (RIP), but fabrications run amuck and have been proven.

    • Brad

      Fair enough and Roots the next genration would also have to be added to the list of historical accuracy. At least as far as his ancestors are concerned.

      But, you are right Haley did fabricate a lot of the story. I myself never thought that any of the dialog was even suppose to be real. How could anyone know what was actually said.

      That being said, I still named my oldest after him because “she was always suppose to be a writer” ;-)

    • MommieDearest


      Wow, I missed all of that! Thanks for the information. I need to research and catch up.

      Even though the familial claims were untrue, I still don’t think that “Roots” was a fictionalized account of slavery in general because all of the atrocities depicted in the book/movie, and even worse ones, really happened to countless slaves.


      Thanks for your input.

  • SE

    I don’t know about anybody else but I like slave movies. I don’t see a problem with it. I love history and I like to know what my ancestors went through. I’m definitely going to see this. Can’t wait!

  • @ Soulfulindustry

    I agree this movie might be excellent but I am still over the slave and maids movies.

  • Cocochanel31

    I love black history! This sound fascinating! I just ordered thebook!