Movie Review: 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2013) Oscar Winner Best Picture

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Director: Steve McQueen

Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong’o, Paul Giamatti

Review by Matthew Toffolo

Winner of 3 Academy Awards: Best Picture. Best Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley). Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o)


In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

What I Liked About This Movie:

Everything. This is the best film hands down of 2013. And it’s a film that all high school students should watch in history class for the next 100 years – especially the ones living in the United States. While telling a profound and perfectly executed movie, the film also teached us a lot as well. High praise to director Steve McQueen. UK filmmakers sure seems to keep finding ways to tell American stories. From the Directors, to the Actors, to the Art Department.

This is a film about living souls being beaten down – literally of course, but also emotionally, and metaphorically.

I think this is the defining film about slavery. A riveting watch. It had me from beginning to end. And the less that was said, the better it was. The direction and performances just tell you everything. This easily could have been a silent movie.

Amazing things happen when you strive for honesty and succeed when telling a story. A wise man one wrote that storytelling shouldn’t be about honesty. An artist needs to attempt to engage the viewer and the worst thing you can do is try to tell them what to think and feel. If you start with honesty, you will fail because it will be looked at as hogwash idealism. But this film contradicts that theory. It begins with honesty and because of that we get a powerful, essential drama and one of the best films of the 2000s. It just made the list. The film is great.


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