"12 YEARS A SLAVE"
(2013) (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender) (R)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama: A free black man is kidnapped and sold into the 1840s slave trade where he must endure the hardships of living at and working on several Louisiana plantations.
- It's 1841 and Solomon Northup (CHIWETEL EJIOFOR) is an educated black man living in Saratoga Springs, New York with his wife and two young children. An accomplished violinist, Solomon gets a temporary job offer from two men who ask him to play in their circus in Washington, D.C. With his wife and kids away from home for a bit, he thinks it sounds ideal. Little does he know that their plan is to drug him into submission and then sell him to a slave trader. Informed by others in the same horrific situation to play dumb and not reveal his intellect or true identity, Solomon reluctantly agrees to go by the name of Platt and ends up sold by slave trader Theophilus Freeman (PAUL GIAMATTI) to Louisiana plantation owner William Ford (BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH).
Ford is a highly religious man and treats Solomon with kindness despite owning him as property. Unfortunately, he can't control his head carpenter, John Tibeats (PAUL DANO), who views slaves as owned animals and doesn't like Solomon showing him any resistance. With that nearly ending in Solomon's lynching, Ford sells him to cotton farmer Edwin Epps (MICHAEL FASSBENDER), a hard-drinking, womanizing plantation owner whose obvious lust for slave Patsey (LUPITA NYONG'O) evokes an increasingly hostile jealousy in his wife, Mary (SARAH PAULSON).
Patsey sees something of a kindred spirit in Harriet Shaw (ALFRE WOODARD), the slave-turned-mistress of another plantation owner, but Edwin's treatment of her isn't as gentle. His treatment of all of his slaves doesn't sit well with Samuel Bass (BRAD PITT), a hired hand who works alongside Solomon doing carpentry work for Edwin.
As the years pass, Solomon must contend with brutal and savage racism, all while trying to keep his intellect hidden and hoping one day to see his family again.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- If they're interested in the subject matter and/or are fans of anyone in the cast, they might. Otherwise, it doesn't seem too likely.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
- For violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality.
To continue reading the review and all of the highly detailed, scene-by-scene listings of the sex, nudity, profanity, violence and more (15 categories):
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