12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

2014 Golden Globe (Best Film, Drama) and Academy Award (Best Picture) winner, based on the true story of free black man Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who was taken from his home in upstate New York and sold into slavery. From director Steve McQueen (Shame), co-starring Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Brad Pitt and Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and introducing Oscar winner (Best Supporting Actress) Lupito Nyong'o.

Waking up after a night with fellow musicians to find himself in irons, Northup undergoes a savage beating before he's even able to understand his plight - that he's been drugged and lured into the clutches of illegal slavetraders. Shipped to New Orleans and sold to a plantation owner, as Northup continues to suffer grotesque physical and psychological abuse he realises the gravity of his situation. While determined to return home to his family, Northup is forced to keep his head down in order to minimise punishment, hiding his educated past and biding his time to escape. But after a confrontation with a racist carpenter (Paul Dano), Northup finds himself sold to brutal, volatile plantation owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) and his struggle becomes not one of escape but simply survival.

Best Picture, Supporting Actress (Nyong'o) and Adapted Screenplay, Academy Awards 2014; Best Film and Best Actor (Ejiofor), BAFTAs 2014; Best Film (Drama), Golden Globes 2014
2013Rating: MA15+, Strong themes and violence134 minsUSA
BiographyDramaTrue Story & BiographyHistorical
97%
want to see

Reviews & comments

Variety

Variety

press

This epic account of an unbreakable soul makes even Scarlett O'Hara's struggles seem petty by comparison.

0
Total Film

Total Film

press

Visceral, vital and anchored by its earnest performances, this is a potent portrait of a shameful historical truth.

4.0
0
Time Out

Time Out

press

The cumulative emotional effect is devastating: the final scenes are as angry, as memorable, as overwhelming as anything modern cinema has to offer.

5.0
0
The New York Times

The New York Times

press

[Its] genius is its insistence on banal evil, and on terror, that seeped into souls, bound bodies and reaped an enduring, terrible price.

0
The Guardian

The Guardian

press

Almost unwatchably shocking and violent film.

5.0
0
The Dissolve

The Dissolve

press

A tough, soul-sickening, uncompromising work of art that makes certain that when viewers talk about the evils of slavery, they know its full dimension.

0
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

A strong, involving, at times overstated telling of an extraordinary life story.

0
Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

press

Falling between the twin pillars of the art house and prestige period flick... history lesson as horror film, powerful, visceral and affecting.

4.0
0

Very good. Lupita Nyongo'o you are amazing.

4.0
0

Powerful in its brutal exploration of this true story. A must watch - but not for the faint hearted.

5.0
0

Interesting and moving. Not your family movie night choice. The film is so good because the brutal reality of slavery is effectively portrayed, which means there is a fair amount of discomfort necessary for the viewer.

4.0
0

Movie plot and subject matter are history. This depiction brings in your face brutality and hypocritical religious fervour reminding us of the nasty deeds done to those who are/look different.

4.0
0

12 years a slave was a fantastic film with a great cast and an accurate insight into American slavery. Yes the film is sad, shocking and contains violence that is somewhat hard to swallow but if you expected anything else then you clearly don't know much about American History. My biggest complaint with the film is is that it was just too long! There were...

3.0
0

and just a bit predictable. Django Unchained was a much more entertaining movie. Good story but going into it knew there was a happy ending.

3.0
0

12 years a Slave captures the essence of a nation in flux. At a time when the US is divided by slavery, we find the northern states empathetic to the plight of slaves while the South is unburdened by the immorality of ingrained slavery. A contextual commentary of the mind sets of North and South as well as the human and social cost of a dying ideology...

4.0
0

A sad sickening reality is realized of the darkness and sickness that can be expressed by fellow man. The hideous nature that the slaves had to endure and the re-telling of a factual story is captured with graphic detail and portrayed in such a way that you are left impacted like never before. Well written, acted and directed with music that is true to its...

5.0
0

go and see this unsophisticated and predictable film. It is better than a Spike Lee film, but not a lot. I feel that it is obvious fodder for the American market. Don't waste your money, read a decent book on the subject instead.

1.0
0

Mcqueen is genius.

5.0
0
Variety

Variety

press

This epic account of an unbreakable soul makes even Scarlett O'Hara's struggles seem petty by comparison.

0
Total Film

Total Film

press

Visceral, vital and anchored by its earnest performances, this is a potent portrait of a shameful historical truth.

4.0
0
Time Out

Time Out

press

The cumulative emotional effect is devastating: the final scenes are as angry, as memorable, as overwhelming as anything modern cinema has to offer.

5.0
0
The New York Times

The New York Times

press

[Its] genius is its insistence on banal evil, and on terror, that seeped into souls, bound bodies and reaped an enduring, terrible price.

0
The Guardian

The Guardian

press

Almost unwatchably shocking and violent film.

5.0
0
The Dissolve

The Dissolve

press

A tough, soul-sickening, uncompromising work of art that makes certain that when viewers talk about the evils of slavery, they know its full dimension.

0
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

A strong, involving, at times overstated telling of an extraordinary life story.

0
Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

press

Falling between the twin pillars of the art house and prestige period flick... history lesson as horror film, powerful, visceral and affecting.

4.0
0

Very good. Lupita Nyongo'o you are amazing.

4.0
0

Powerful in its brutal exploration of this true story. A must watch - but not for the faint hearted.

5.0
0

Interesting and moving. Not your family movie night choice. The film is so good because the brutal reality of slavery is effectively portrayed, which means there is a fair amount of discomfort necessary for the viewer.

4.0
0

Movie plot and subject matter are history. This depiction brings in your face brutality and hypocritical religious fervour reminding us of the nasty deeds done to those who are/look different.

4.0
0

12 years a slave was a fantastic film with a great cast and an accurate insight into American slavery. Yes the film is sad, shocking and contains violence that is somewhat hard to swallow but if you expected anything else then you clearly don't know much about American History. My biggest complaint with the film is is that it was just too long! There were...

3.0
0

and just a bit predictable. Django Unchained was a much more entertaining movie. Good story but going into it knew there was a happy ending.

3.0
0

12 years a Slave captures the essence of a nation in flux. At a time when the US is divided by slavery, we find the northern states empathetic to the plight of slaves while the South is unburdened by the immorality of ingrained slavery. A contextual commentary of the mind sets of North and South as well as the human and social cost of a dying ideology...

4.0
0

A sad sickening reality is realized of the darkness and sickness that can be expressed by fellow man. The hideous nature that the slaves had to endure and the re-telling of a factual story is captured with graphic detail and portrayed in such a way that you are left impacted like never before. Well written, acted and directed with music that is true to...

5.0
0

go and see this unsophisticated and predictable film. It is better than a Spike Lee film, but not a lot. I feel that it is obvious fodder for the American market. Don't waste your money, read a decent book on the subject instead.

1.0
0

Mcqueen is genius.

5.0
0