My Thoughts on 12 Years A Slave…

12-years-a-slaveAfter much debate about rather or not I’d go see this movie, I finally found myself in a local theater last night.

Based on the true story of Solomon Northup; a free man who was kidnapped, forced into slavery and remained there for twelve years, this movie was extremely difficult to watch but told a much-needed story and didn’t shy away from displaying all the gory details of the primal sin of America.

I credit Chiwetel Ejiofor for an absolutely amazing performance. His role as Solomon drew me into the movie within the first scene. While his thoughts could not always be verbalized, the look in his eyes told the pain of his circumstances and his will to not only survive but to LIVE.

I found myself drawn in even more by the role of Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o), the female slave who picked more cotton than her male counterparts and quickly found herself as the slave owner’s object of affection. She became subject to his rape and the relentless abuse of his wife once she became aware of his fixation. I fought tears for her character and flinched during her abuse.

As one who was raised to believe that there is good in all races, the term “exceptional ni**er” used in the movie struck a chord. I have worked extremely hard to educate and carry myself in a way that is honorable to God, myself and my family. It is unfortunate to know that even in these times, I too, will still be considered as nothing more than an “exceptional ni**er” to some.

I left the theater with a renewed sense of pride for my race and appreciation for generations past. Our story is one of heartbreak but is filled with inspiration. Our strength is invaluable and our perseverance is yet required.

I am so glad I got over the thought of having seen one too many slave movies within the past few months because this one was well worth it. Kudos to the director, Steve McQueen, for bringing this story to life.

7 thoughts on “My Thoughts on 12 Years A Slave…

  1. Despite the great reviews I still cannot bring myself to watch this movie. I remember watching Amistad and Sarafina and just being so angry and hurt. But the worst aspect was my harbouring a lot of hate in my heart for not only the perpetrators of slavery and Apartheid but for their decedents as well. I just don’t want a repeat performance of that.

    Sidenote: Dare I ask, what is going on in the picture between Patsy and the slave owners wife?

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    1. That was a part of my struggle to decide rather or not to see the movie as well so I can definitely understand that. In the picture, the slave owners wife was scratching Patsey’s face which was the primary target of her abuse.

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  2. What do you think made this ‘slave movie’ better than the rest? What would you say was the major takeaway? I saw it a few weeks ago and my feeling – albeit going agains the grain, was that the movie wasn’t impactful. I couldn’t find anything to rave about other than the performances by the two actors you mentioned in your post, although I wanted to. But maybe the purpose was to just learn/ know Northup’s story.

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    1. The thing that made the movie stand out for me was the fact that unlike most other slave movies, this one told the story from the point of view of someone who had actually been free and experienced various parts of the world but was forced to adapt to the mentality of being a slave. Watching his adjustment process, the fight in his spirit and seeing him come full circle was my major takeaway. I think the sole purpose of the movie WAS indeed to tell his story.

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      1. Okay, that WAS perhaps different – showing the story from the vantage point of someone who was “free” and subsequently enslaved.I haven’t seen to many slave movies (haven’t watched ROOTS in decades, never saw Amistad). I saw Django, which was more of an action/ revenge movie. Agreed. Maybe that was the point. I like to walk away with an enhanced perspective/ major takeaway. My expectations were probably too high given the hype, but you’ve given me something more to think about – the adjustment process. Adjustment is a universal theme. I’m thinking. Thanks.

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