Harriet Tubman is a historical figure not only in the black experience but in American history. She was an early abolitionist and responsible for leading hundreds of slaves to freedom during the 1800’s. This film is one of the firsts to tell her story…

Story: Upon some investigation, I learned that this undertaking is the product of girl power! Produced by Debra Martin Chase and Daniela Taplin Lindbergh, they secured Kasi Lemmons to direct, and adapt this screenplay with Gregory Allen Howard.

The story is thoughtfully told showing Harriet’s graduation from slave to freedom to emancipator. It’s interesting to see the people she meets across her journey and hear some of their stories. But like all true historical accounts, you wonder exactly how accurate it’s being told…

Regardless, this version, condensed into a two hour movie does not disappoint.

Performances: Cynthia Erivo portrays Harriet Tubman. She’s gotten critical acclaim for her performance and also just plain criticism for maybe not being the right person for the role. All critics aside, she is outstanding in the role. Oscar nomination for sure.

Other performances of note: Leslie Odom, Jr. as William Still, abolitionist who connects her to the Underground Railroad. Janelle Monae as Marie Buchanon, Harriet’s caretaker after she escapes to freedom. Vondie Curtis-Hall, an abolitionist reverend who helps her escape to freedom. Vanessa Bell-Calloway and Clarke Peters as Harriet’s parents. Joe Alwyn as Gideon, son of her owner and Jennifer Nettles as his mother.

All very important people in her journey to freedom and leadership, all strong performances.

Visual: Films about slavery are not difficult to re-create, but again, historical accuracy is huge. This film gets the costumes just right and filming in Virginia was exactly the right backdrop. It’s a period piece done well…

Rating: Harriet gets an A. The story doesn’t have significant holes to appease film run time and the performances are great. A win-win.

If you don’t know much about Harriet Tubman, start here and then start reading. A two hour story on an American hero is brevity; go find the detail for the full and complete story.