'12 Years a Slave' is brutal and important look at history

  • Article by: Colin Covert , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 26, 2014 - 10:58 AM

REVIEW: In his movie based on the life of Solomon Northup, director Steve McQueen insists that the horrors of American slavery must be seen to be believed.

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ChrisVOct. 31, 13 6:09 PM

I understand the idea of a slow rollout for films -- it was a successful strategy last year for "Silver Lining Playbook" -- but I really wish a film like this opened wide. I think this movie will draw a huge crowd. The interest is there, and hopefully it opens in a lot more theaters next week.

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SnippetNov. 1, 13 7:15 AM

>>> The film is both brutal to watch and stunning to contemplate, powerfully challenging audiences — particularly white audiences — to examine their consciences. <<< Why? No white person reading this review is likely to be a slaveowner, or in any way responsible for the fact that slavery used to exist. Furthermore, when slavery did exist, it could not have carried out without the cooperate of non-white people.

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joe_mnNov. 1, 1310:06 AM

Why are movies made? For money? Any movie needs financial backers.

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mrdogoNov. 1, 1311:22 AM

...and by the way, I'm white and I don't need to examine my conscience. I had nothing to do with slavery....it's over. It's done. The people that promoted slavery are dead. We have a black president. Let's get going. The apologies have been made and they're just echoes now.

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redblack30Nov. 1, 1311:23 AM

"Why? No white person reading this review is likely to be a slaveowner, or in any way responsible for the fact that slavery used to exist." True, guilt is a feeling, and feelings are entertaining. However, history is worth knowing, if one wants to understand what's happening today, and what we might owe to each other today as fellow Americans.

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BBJoeNov. 1, 1311:33 AM

An important aspect is that the descendants of these slaves did not receive true freedom legally in America until the 1960's - myself included many current Americans were alive then. Many black Americans alive today were not allowed in restaurants, theaters, or had to sit in the back of a bus. That is why this is important still today. It also puts the Confederate flag in perspective of what the south was fighting for, these racist divisions still exist in America and everyone knows it.

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pomooneNov. 1, 1311:42 AM

mrdogo and others are right. So, while we're at it, let's stop pretending the Civil War matters to any of us, since none of us fought in that war. We can FINALLY get rid of the confederate flag! None of us were Nazi's, so let's close the Holocaust museums. None of us heard Jesus speak or saw him on the cross, so we can dispense with Christianity and stop hiding Easter eggs. I mean, how can society today POSSIBLY be affected by events that took place soooooo long ago?

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biffpoloNov. 1, 1311:49 AM

I am white. My forefathers were never slave owners in the US. I believe that slavery has been a scourage on the human race since the beginning of time. Important information about slavery should also include the fact that many people enslaved each other through out history. Egyptians, Irish, English, Africans, etc. In fact, the first African slaves brought to the U.S. were sold by African tribal leaders to the white man. Even in a America, mostly in Virginia, freed African slaves bought their own slaves and put them to work. The problem with modern day movies about slavery is they are focusing primarily on what "sells" tickets and advertising which is US slavery and white owners brutality toward black slaves. Obviously there is money to be made on emotion and misery. As you may recall recent news stories, slavery is still pervasive in many parts of SE Asia and other parts of Europe, Asia and even Africa. I disagree with Steve McQ...I don't need to see more brutality to believe it. I believe it. It was horrible then and is horrible now. If you really want to make an impact (versus just make some money) go route out and report on slavery that still exists throughout the world.

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davehougNov. 1, 1311:51 AM

The apologies have been made and they're just echoes now. = = = UNLESS you happen to think of a picture of a slave market a great way to score political points :( Seriously, being tone-deaf to how slavery, the Civil War, Jim Crow impacts the view of many is just going to hurt the tone-deaf.

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gearrunrNov. 1, 1312:00 PM

4 out of 4 stars, for a movie about slavery in America. What a shocker. Really going out on a limb with this one, eh?

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