12 Years A Slave

        Discrimination and racism are two of the world’s biggest problems that are still existent to this day. 12 years a slave, directed by Steve McQueen, is a movie that follows the journey of Solomon Northup through slavery after having been a freeman, and shows the horrendous treatment of the racist masters. The movie is based on the true events that Solomon went through and published in his 1853 bestselling autobiography of the same name.

       The movie starts with Solomon Northup, a very talented black violinist, putting his son and daughter to bed at his house in New York. On the next day, Solomon meets two men who persuade him to join them in their gig tour. One morning in Washington, D.C., Solomon wakes up to find his hands and feet chained to the floor. He soon realizes that the two fellows had drugged him the night before and abducted him to be sold as a slave. Northman is then given his slave name Platt, and shipped off to Louisiana to be bought by William Ford, a plantation owner. Unlike Ford’s decent treatment of Solomon, John Tibeats, his chief carpenter, highly disliked him, which led to a fight between the two. Tibeats failed an attempt to lynch Northup, which left Ford no choice but to sell him to a cotton field owner, so he would stay away from Tibeats. Edwin Epps, the new owner, is very racist and abusive. The rest of the movie shows the hardship that Solomon and his fellow slaves go through under the slavery of Epps.

       The movie does a great job at conveying the experience that the slaves went through and the feelings that they were having. As you watch the movie, you’ll get various feelings, but the most dominant two are anger at the cruelty of the white masters and sadness about the pain that the slaves had to endure. Because of the honest deliverance of slave life experience that Steve McQueen aims for, the movie is very hard to watch, but is also important nonetheless. You’ll see men, women, and children getting beat up, whipped, and even killed cold-heartedly. The main theme of the movie is slavery, but it also makes you think about other issues, such as religion.

       You are recommended to watch the movie if you want to see what it was like to live as a slave, but be advised that it’s far from a comfortable watch. Due to the cruel nature of this film, it’s highly not recommended for children. If you think you can handle it, go for it as you’ll learn a lot of shocking and important facts.

By: Mujtaba Zuhair Al-Tameemi

From: Minnesota, USA  

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