12 Years a Slave Analysis
The movie 12 Years a Slave, surprisingly, is a British- American film based on an autobiography of Solomon Northup. This sad, extremely vivid, and horrid tale is based on a true story that is based around 1940 during the Pre-Civil War era. The movie depicts Solomon Northup’s unbelievable fight for freedom and survival during a twelve year period. While watching this movie my emotions were on a rollercoaster that my heart wanted to get off of, but my mind was still intrigued as to why a society would feel it would be acceptable to treat any human being in this manner. The heart-wrenching images of African Americans being sold, beaten, raped, tortured, and killed kept me on the edge of my seat with anguish, and tears in my eyes throughout the whole movie. Often times I asked myself why would anyone want to watch this movie and what was the overall purpose of the director, Steven McQueen, of producing and filming such a sad but true story.
Up until around 1943 Solomon Northup was a free man living in Sattanoga, New York with his wife and three kids. He was a well-educated man who played the fiddle for night clubs and high-end occasions as well to support his family. One day he was offered a job, by two con artist, to play his fiddle down south for a traveling circus. The two con artist took Solomon to Philadelphia first and wined and dined him, while unbeknownst to him, they drugged his wine while they were dining. Solomon woke up in a cell shackled from his hands to his feet, and was told his name was no longer Solomon and that he was not a free man. Solomon was quickly striped of his right to citizenship and forcefully pushed into the harsh realm of slavery. From that point on he was passed on from one malicious slave owner to the next. Solomon succumbed to a string of brutal beatings, torture, and witnessed consistent rapes, and killings. In fact Solomon received one of the most horrific beatings right after he was drugged, kidnapped, and forced into slavery. Families were torn apart and slaves were ordered to vigorously play the violin over the young children’s screams for their mothers. As I stated before the slave owners roles’ were most memorable ones because they basically terrorized and tortured these slaves, in the most demonic ways you could ever imagine.
One of the most captivating aspects of the movie is the many different characters Solomon came across along the way and the relationships he formed throughout his 12 years of slavery. The bonds he formed throughout years with other slaves, helped him find comfort and have the courage to stay strong willed while coping with daily life, on his quest for freedom.
After twelve years of enduring severe beatings, torture, and physically and emotionally battered, Solomon is finally reunited with his family. William Ford, a prestigious white man played by Brad Pitt, honors his request to mail a letter to Northup’s hometown for them to send his freedom