12 Years A Slave

This is a very special post because it’s both a book review and a movie review of 12 Years A Slave. I read the book by Solomon Northup first (as you always should, in my opinion) and absolutely loved it. Mike and I rented the movie the other night (all of the Oscar movies are now on pay-per-view), and it was good, but as I often find, not as good as the book.

12 Years A Slave Poster (from IMDb)

DirectorSteve McQueen

StarsChiwetel EjioforBenedict CumberbatchLupita Nyong’o, and Brad Pitt

Runtime: 2 hours, 14 minutes

Plot Summary: (from IMDb) Based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life.

Rating: Theater

Let me start with the story line. People suck. Like a lot. It’s amazing to me how awful we can be to each other, because of the color of our skin, our beliefs, or what God we worship. This is actually based on the true story of Solomon Northup, and what an amazing story it is. Lupita Nyong’o deserved every ounce of praise she got for this role – it was raw, heart-breaking, uncomfortable, and hard to watch. Chiwetel Ejiofor is an amazing actor as well… he was believable in how stunned he was not only by his captivity, but the unspeakable cruelty that was done to him and to those around him.

Here’s why I liked the book so much better – it went into a lot more detail, as books tend to do. I think some of the things in the movie almost didn’t make sense without some of the back story, or at least were made more clear in the book because of it.

This is both a must-read and a must-see!

Ratings Explanation:

  • Theater: This means the movie is awesome. Go see this movie in the theater – well worth the $100 you’ll spend for a night out to see it on the big screen!
  • On Demand: Since no one actually rents movies anymore, this category has changed to On Demand. This means it’s a great movie, but it is as good at home as it is in the theater and worth seeing a little sooner.
  • TV: This means the movie is ok. Wait for it to show up on HBO and see it for free.
  • Skip It: Movie sucks, don’t waste your time.