MOVIE NIGHT: 12 Years a Slave

I watched the Oscar’s last night and i must say, though 12 Years a Slave did not get most of the awards, it totally bagged the best one, best picture of the year.

I got curious.  Then, i watched.  In the end, i agreed.


Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave stars Chiwetel Ejifor as Solomon Northup, a free black man in 1840s America. He makes his living as a fiddle player, and his wife is a teacher. He is shanghaied by a pair of nefarious white men, and soon finds himself on a ship headed to New Orleans where he is informed he will be called Platt and is sold into slavery by an unscrupulous businessman (Paul Giamatti). As he toils away for the kindhearted but conflicted plantation owner Mr. Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch), who recognizes that Platt is both educated and an artist, he butts head with Ford’s underlings, especially the casually cruel Tibeats (Paul Dano). After they have a violent altercation, Ford fears for his slave’s life and sells him to Mr. Epps (Michael Fassbender), an alcoholic sadist who owns a cotton plantation. Though Epps reads from the bible to his property, as he frequently refers to his slaves, he is himself not immune to sins of the flesh. He has taken the young Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o) – his best cotton picker — as his lover, and this doesn’t sit well at all with his severe wife (Sarah Paulson), whose particular hatred for blacks and her jealousy fuels her many degrading actions toward Patsey. Solomon bides his time, attempts to preserve a modicum of self-respect, and waits for the chance to reclaim his rightful name as well as his family. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi (


To further show us a brief visual presentation, here is the official trailer.


I was speechless. I was shocked as ever.   Exposed at a working environment with mixed nationalities, I was heartbroken to see a glimpse of our history with this kind of cruelty and racism.  Slaves were scattered, justice were not served, freedom was a hard price to pay, color was a gauge for survival.  It was not a pleasant world to live at.  It was disturbing, yes, but that really happened.

Based on true story of Mr. Solomon Northup, this was his fight for survival and freedom.  He was sold  repeatedly as a slave. And i cannot imagine the courage and the strength he has to have to be able to surpass this kind of ordeal in his life.  He was cheated, tortured to the brink of death, asked to labor till his body allowed it, made to see cruelty and unfairness happen to others, but he also tried to fight to live by cooperating.  Though it was a hard life, he tried to gain the confidence of his masters.  This was his way of making sure he will survive till the day he sees his family again and live as a free man again.

I remember one of his line “i dont want to survive, i want to live’.

I marveled at his convictions.  I envy his determination.  I salute his courage.

His journey back home was not easy, but was not impossible, either.  I shed a tear or two on some of those scenes.  The lashing, the hunger, the imprisonment, the rape, the selling of the slaves, they were real tear-jerkers.  But most of all, my heart melted when i saw the family together again.  Joy, Forgiveness, Love, Triumph.  Those were the feelings of Mr. Solomon Northup.  Mine too.  The grandson really brought me down to tears.  All those years, he was stripped off from the love of his loved-ones, and in that one particular scene, they all rushed back.  The warmth of being together, the love enveloped them.  Truly, my heart goes to all the people who experienced this kind of injustice.  This is a free world.  Slavery is an evil, it should befall none.


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One thought on “MOVIE NIGHT: 12 Years a Slave

  1. thanks for this movie review arjaye…but it is not my usual type of movie. i usually don’t have the stomach for human degradation esp. one depicting about slavery…it is different when one is reading about it and another thing to see is with your own eyes. but i am glad that this movie gives justice to the plight of one Solomon Northup…his story is the story of many like him 😦 man is indeed capable of such cruelty.

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