12 Years a Slave is the harrowing story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who is mistaken into slavery in 1841. As the name of this movie indicates, it took 12 years to regain his freedom… 1853 is when he was reunited with his family.

Story: This is a true story. Hard to accept, but, true. Northup traveles to Washington, D.C. from upstate New York to perform as a fiddle player for a traveling circus and ends up being kidnapped by slave traders. Absent actual documents to prove his freedom, Northup has no recourse.

I’ve read that the book is a very true representation of the actual facts. The film itself is very intense and disturbing at times. But, most stories about slavery are generally disturbing. Considering the story, I think the writers do a very considerate job.

Performances: I think this is where this movie will live into the future. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup and Lupita Nyongo’o plays Patsey – one of the other slaves. These are two performances to pay particular attention.

Slave owners played by Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender and his wife played by Sarah Paulson may also get some attention because of their dramatic contempt for their slaves, but, the brief appearance of Brad Pitt as Samuel Bass is where the story turns and should create the most note.

Let’s see what happens around Golden Globe and Oscar time…

Visual: It looks like 1841. The plantations, the carriages, the slaves. The costumes are authentic and the south looked like the south. The cinematographers to a great job of making a clear distinction between scenes in the south and scenes in the north. Though it was the 1840’s, some things never change…

Rating: 12 Years a Slave gets an A- from me. Only because it is just so disturbing to me on so many levels. First, to be so helpless for so long is just gut-wrenching to me. It’s amazing how far we’ve come in technology… Today, if someone asked you for proof of ANYTHING, you can pull out a smart phone and have the proof in hand inside an hour. It took 12, real years to, “Clear up this misunderstanding.”

I also think Hollywood has gone slave movie crazy. While I’m the first person to defend the authenticity of a movie that needs to incorporate some element of slavery, we’re over-saturated at this point. I accept that black people were called the N word routinely in 1850, but, it still doesn’t feel any better to me. And to use that time to confirm a place in a current trend is bad filmmaking in my opinion.

I’m not saying this movie is bad for those reasons, I’m saying it’s had to feel out which ones make best use of the subject matter and which ones don’t – considering they’re all products of Hollywood…

I’ve often said there’s a lack of creativity in our society today and the term, “What’s old is new again,” is confirmation that creative types aren’t really that creative anymore.

See this movie if not for the performances, for the historic value it represents. I’ve said that before and I will continue to support historic works, but, the struggle I went through to get myself to the theatre to see this is an indication that, our history is not being retold in the most thoughtful way, its being passed along as a matter of commerce.

Look for the truth and honor in our history…