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12 Years A Slave NY Times Review
“12 Years a Slave” isn’t the first movie about slavery in the United States — but it may be the one that finally makes it impossible for American cinema to continue to sell the ugly lies it’s been hawking for more than a century. Written by John Ridley and directed by Steve McQueen, it tells the true story of Solomon Northup, an African-American freeman who, in 1841, was snatched off the streets of Washington, and sold. It’s at once a familiar, utterly strange and deeply American story in which the period trappings long beloved by Hollywood — the paternalistic gentry with their pretty plantations, their genteel manners and all the fiddle-dee-dee rest — are the backdrop for an outrage.
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The story opens with Solomon (Chiwetel Ejiofor) already enslaved and cutting sugar cane on a plantation. A series of flashbacks shifts the story to an earlier time, when Solomon, living in New York with his wife and children, accepts a job from a pair of white men to play the violin in a circus. Soon the three are enjoying a civilized night out in Washington, sealing their camaraderie with heaping plates of food, flowing wine and the unstated conviction — if only on Solomon’s part — of a shared humanity, a fiction that evaporates when he wakes the next morning shackled and discovers that he’s been sold. Thereafter, he is passed from master to master.
It’s a desperate path and a story that seizes you almost immediately with a visceral force. But Mr. McQueen keeps everything moving so fluidly and efficiently that you’re too busy worrying about Solomon, following him as he travels from auction house to plantation, to linger long in the emotions and ideas that the movie churns up. Part of this is pragmatic — Mr. McQueen wants to keep you in your seat, not force you out of the theater, sobbing — but there’s something else at work here. This is, he insists, a story about Solomon, who may represent an entire subjugated people and, by extension, the peculiar institution, as well as the American past and present. Yet this is also, emphatically, the story of one individual.
Unlike most of the enslaved people whose fate he shared for a dozen years, the real Northup was born into freedom. (His memoir’s telegraphing subtitle is “Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853, From a Cotton Plantation Near the Red River, in Louisiana.”) That made him an exceptional historical witness, because even while he was inside slavery — physically, psychologically, emotionally — part of him remained intellectually and culturally at a remove, which gives his book a powerful double perspective. In the North, he experienced some of the privileges of whiteness, and while he couldn’t vote, he could enjoy an outing with his family. Even so, he was still a black man in antebellum America.
Mr. McQueen is a British visual artist who made a rough transition to movie directing with his first two features, “Hunger” and “Shame,” both of which were embalmed in self-promoting visuals. “Hunger” is the sort of art film that makes a show of just how perfectly its protagonist, the Irish dissident Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender), smears his excrement on a prison wall. “Shame,” about a sex addict (Mr. Fassbender again), was little more than glossy surfaces, canned misery and preening directorial virtuosity. For “12 Years a Slave,” by contrast, Mr. McQueen has largely dispensed with the conventions of art cinema to make something close to a classical narrative; in this movie, the emphasis isn’t on visual style
- but on Solomon and his unmistakable desire for freedom.
There’s nothing ambivalent about Solomon. Mr. Ejiofor has a round, softly inviting face, and he initially plays the character with the stunned bewilderment of a man who, even chained, can’t believe what is happening to him. Not long after he’s kidnapped, Solomon sits huddled with two other prisoners on a slaver’s boat headed south. One man insists that they should fight their crew. A second disagrees, saying, “Survival’s not about certain death, it’s about keeping your head down.” Seated between them, Solomon shakes his head no. Days earlier he was home. “Now,” he says, “you tell me all is lost?” For him, mere survival cannot be enough. “I want to live.”
This is Solomon’s own declaration of independence, and an assertion of his humanity that sustains him. It’s also a seamlessly structured scene that turns a discussion about the choices facing enslaved people — fight, submit, live — into cinema. In large part, “12 Years a Slave” is an argument about American slavery that, in image after image, both reveals it as a system (signified in one scene by the sights and ominous, mechanical sounds of a boat waterwheel) and demolishes its canards, myths and cherished symbols. There are no lovable masters here or cheerful slaves. There are also no messages, wagging fingers or final-act summations or sermons. Mr. McQueen’s method is more effective and subversive because of its primarily old-fashioned, Hollywood-style engagement.
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12 Years a Slave
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A Discussion of ’12 Years a Slave’
By NELSON GEORGE
Nelson George discusses the film "12 Years a Slave" with its director, Steve McQueen; the artist Kara Walker; the actor Chiwetel Ejiofor; and the historian Eric Foner.
It’s a brilliant strategy that recognizes the seductions of movies that draw you wholly into their narratives and that finds Mr. McQueen appropriating the very film language that has been historically used to perpetuate reassuring (to some) fabrications about American history. One of the shocks of “12 Years a Slave” is that it reminds you how infrequently stories about slavery have been told on the big screen, which is why it’s easy to name exceptions, like Richard Fleischer’s demented, at times dazzling 1975 film, “Mandingo.” The greater jolt, though, is that “12 Years a Slave” isn’t about another Scarlett O’Hara, but about a man who could be one of those anonymous, bent-over black bodies hoeing fields in the opening credits of “Gone With the Wind,” a very different “story of the Old South.”
At one point in Northup’s memoir, which was published a year after “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and eight years before the start of the Civil War, he interrupts an account of his own near-lynching to comment on the man largely to blame for the noose around his neck. “But whatever motive may have governed the cowardly and malignant tyrant,” he writes, “it is of no importance.” It doesn’t matter why Northup was strung up in a tree like a dead deer in the summer sun, bathed in sweat, with little water to drink. What matters is what has often been missing among the economic, social and cultural explanations of American slavery and in many of its representations: human suffering. “My wrists and ankles, and the cords of my legs and arms began to swell, burying the rope that bound them into the swollen flesh.”
Part of the significance of Northup’s memoir is its description of everyday life. Mr. McQueen recreates, with texture and sweep, scenes of slavery’s extreme privations and cruelties, but also its work rhythms and routines, sunup to sundown, along with the unsettling intimacies it produced among the owners and the owned. In Louisiana, Solomon is sold by a brutish trader (Paul Giamatti) to an outwardly decent plantation owner, William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch), who, in turn, sells him to a madman and drunk, Edwin Epps (Mr. Fassbender). In his memoir, Northup refers to Ford charitably,
- doubtless for the benefit of the white readers who were the target of his abolitionist appeal. Freed from that burden, the filmmakers can instead show the hypocrisies of such paternalism.
It’s on Epps’s plantation that “12 Years a Slave” deepens, and then hardens. It’s also where the existential reality of what it meant to be enslaved, hour after hour, decade after decade, generation after generation, is laid bare, at times on the flayed backs of Epps’s human property, including that of his brutalized favorite, Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o). Mr. Fassbender, skittish and weirdly spiderlike, grabs your attention with curdled intensity. He’s so arresting that at first it seems as if the performance will soon slip out of Mr. McQueen’s control, and that the character will become just another irresistibly watchable, flamboyant heavy. Movie villainy is so easy, partly because it allows actors to showboat, but also because a lot of filmmakers can’t resist siding with power.
Mr. McQueen’s sympathies are as unqualified as his control. There is much to admire about “12 Years a Slave,” including the cleareyed, unsentimental quality of its images — this is a place where trees hang with beautiful moss and black bodies — and how Mr. Ejiofor’s restrained, open, translucent performance works as a ballast, something to cling onto, especially during the frenzies of violence. These are rightly hard to watch and bring to mind the startling moment in “Maus,” Art Spiegelman’s cartoon opus about the Holocaust, in which he asks his “shrink” to explain what it felt like to be in Auschwitz. “Boo! It felt like that. But ALWAYS!” The genius of “12 Years a Slave” is its insistence on banal evil, and on terror, that seeped into souls, bound bodies and reaped an enduring, terrible price.
- Yet another Manohla review that is more about how much she knows than about the film itself. She doesn't even get to praising the damn actors until the very end.
- Fiction anyone?
- And honestly, her dismissal of McQueen's earlier films makes her sound like a high school student. Even if they weren't your thing, they're better than deserving of her faintly veiled hostility.
- I also deny the Holocaust happened as it doesn't quite fit in with the rose colored outlook on life.
And FYI, I each shit.
- 12 years!?!?!?
I thought Katie Holmes was married to Tom for only 5 years.
- But, R5, in those other movies he wasn't dealing with slavery, as he should have, apparently.
And now, finally, maybe we can all agree that slavery was a crime against humanity and a bitter legacy this country will never be able to shed, because it tells something crucial about us as a nation. Or them as a nation, who became us. Or just them.
And, of course, it's wonderful that, as the writer suggests, no movie in history presented slavery as a bad thing, THAT'S now on the record in movie history. Whew! Finally!
I loathe her reviews - unaesthetic cunt.
- [quote]“12 Years a Slave” isn’t the first movie about slavery in the United States — but it may be the one that finally makes it impossible for American cinema to continue to sell the ugly lies it’s been hawking for more than a century.
What lies are these? I saw depictions of slavery in a lot of movies, at least in the past two decades, that made it seem downright evil and ugly through and through. Even post-slavery in the sharecropping South ("The Butler") comes off as evil.
I don't doubt that this film is excellent, but I don't get what the reviewer is claiming, like, AT LONG LAST a film has FINALLY come along to flip the coffee table over!
- '12 Years a Slave': What the Critics Are Saying
- I saw it and was riveted.
- It currently has a 97% rating on RottenTomatoes, and Chiwetel Ejiofor is the frontrunner for Best Actor (with Michael Fassbender a near lock for Best Supporting Actor). I tend to roll my eyes when it comes to depressing movies about black people (i.e., Precious, The Help, For Colored Girls, yadda yadda yadda)...but even the trailer of 12 Years a Slave had me in near-tears the first time I saw it.
Gravity has been the best film I've seen all year, but it wasn't really emotionally riveting...I mean, I rooted for Ryan Stone along her journey, but the death of her daughter didn't really resonate. 12 Years a Slave seems like it packs the emotional punch that Gravity fell short of.
- I really don't get her central assertion in the first paragraph either. She's saying that this is Hollywood's first real anti-slavery movie? Really?
- Hollywood covered this ground years ago with "Mandingo".
- Django Unchained was pretty brutal as well.
Also, didn't Roots open America's eyes to the horrors of slavery decades ago?
- [quote]Also, didn't Roots open America's eyes to the horrors of slavery decades ago?
And [italic]The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman[/italic] before that?
- I had the same reaction, r9.
- I love Chiwetel! He deserved a Best Supporting Actor Nomination for American Gangster. He was perfect as Denzel's silly, trifling brother.
- This is one of the best years black cinema has had.
Twelve years a Slave,
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
It would be something if all five were nominated for best picture. Aside from Gravity and Blue Jasmine, nothing else at this point is generating much awards buzz.
- And if I'm not mistaken, Temptation was the only Tyler Perry garbage of the year. Although I understand another Madea is in the works for the holidays.
- What ugly lies has Hollywood been telling about slavery?
- Leslie Uggums is wonderful in this.
- It got a very enthusiastic response at the Toronto International Film Festival. Of course that's no indication of how it's going to play in the U.S.
- I am so sick of this shit. Why do we always have to be slaves, mammies, or security guards to be shown on the big screen?
- The only thing missing from this movie is that racist, Oprah.
- What could ever top the horror of the 'middle passage' sequence in "Amistad?"
- A lot of them, R21, and it's been telling them since the movies began.
So it's probably taking Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor but I'm not hearing anything about the female characters. Please tell me one of them will bury Oprah's chances. Not because she's a racist but because she's obnoxious, arrogant, clueless and not an actress.
- R24: you forgot no-Nonsense judges
- Well, I guess there's no G_O_N_E_ W_I_T_H_ T_H_E W_I_N_D_ remake happening now.
- Liza Minnelli is a lock to win Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of sadistic slave owner, Tassy. Her performance is riveting, and the scene where she slaps the toddler is horrifying.
- [quote]So it's probably taking Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor but I'm not hearing anything about the female characters.
I'm banking on Best Pic and Supporting Actor but Best Actor may be a long shot. A nom certainly, but not sure about a win.
Don't get me wrong I'd give it to Ejiofor, but the aging, very white Academy may not be comfortable giving it to a first-time nominee most of them had never heard of until this year, especially if Old Guard members like Redford or Bruce Dern are also nommed.
I don't think its a racial thing, Ampas jut traditionally doesn't like to hand out the Best Acting awards to first-timers with no prior noms. It's happened yes, but not the norm (Begnini, Brody and Dujardin aside - I think the latter snuck in from a vote split between Clooney & Pitt; Brody was a sympathy proxy for Polanski).
- Gayle, get me my smelling salts!
- Why so much white guilt at the New York Times?
- Polanski won best director that year. R31.
Jordan received excellent reviews and Ejiofor is getting them as well. Either could win, and they deserve to.
This whole thing with finally rewarding Redford like it was big act of neglect not giving him an acting Oscar is ludicrous. I can't think of a single performance he's given in previous years that hands down deserved the Oscar. Frankly, he's always been wooden as an actor. Plus he has two Oscars already, albeit in different areas.
- Adrian Brody won because all four of the other nominees had already won before (Nicholson three times, Michael Caine, twice) and everybody was up for only marginally acclaimed performances.
- I'm glad we're getting something better than the dreaded Tyler Perry.
I saw my first Madea movie on TV the other day. There was nothing on or I wouldn't have made it through this shit.
There would be 3-5 minutes of Madea which was amusing, followed by interminable, dreary 20 minute segments about a junkie streetwalker. It was like two different movies. The storylines finally crossed when Madea and the whore met in prison.
It was really downhill from there. We were treated to such hilarious sights as Madea, played by closet case Perry, inserting the head of a predatory lesbian into an industrial steam press.
- R36 If you think the Madea movies are bad, you should sit through one of the recorded versions of the Madea PLAYS. MUCH worse. The only redeeming factor is the eye candy with the younger men in the cast. Tyler has an eye for the hotties.
- This is going to be one of those "earnest" movies that HW loves to do & give awards for, however it won't do that well in the BO. I could be wrong though as The Butler cost $30m and did $113m.
- Oh right, R31, I'd forgotten about Redford's almost certain nomination and win.
R34, it's not about a single outstanding performance when it comes to the Oscars. Lots of other things come into it but not usually a single performance.
That being said, there have been raves about Redford's performance on the festival circuit. I don't know if the Soderbergh contingent's hatred is enough to keep him from winning.
- [quote]So it's probably taking Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor but I'm not hearing anything about the female characters. Please tell me one of them will bury Oprah's chances.
- I think she has stunning features and skin.
- r39 is smug
- Lee Daniels does more harm than good. Whatever happened to films like Hav Plenty and Love Jones?
- Can someone name a film from the past 50 years that didn't depict slavery as bad?
- R44, you are right ,and I couldn't agree with you more. To say that this is the first film that really shows slavery for what it was is super ridiculous! There have been black and white people in the past and near present time who have shown the highly negatives of slavery in film and on stage, what the hell is the problem? I don't know of anyone, not my parents, their parents have ever thought nor think slavery was good.
My father originally came from Spain to America when he was a kid and later married my mother who is American. His father was a sailor in the Spanish navy back in the 30s in Spain. One time his ship docked in Africa ,and he and his buddy had to go to the Belgium Congo and they were horrified by what they saw. Belgium soldiers whipping native's backs to do to manual labor.He and his buddy were shocked because they said this is the 1930s and this is going on? Now, my grandfather was a little guy ,but he was really strong and took anyone on who picked a fight with him. He and his buddy grabbed the solder with the bull whip in his hand and my grandfather said to the soldiers, If I, or my buddy, see you use that whip on anyone one more time we will kill you. The startled soldier stopped the whipping immediately and left.
- Interesting story r45. People forget, long after slavery was abolished, colonialism continued and it was just as bad. The British, French, Portuguese and Belgians continued to inflict unspeakable atrocities on Africans. But none could compete with the Germans who exterminated an entire tribe. Here's an idea for a movie.
- Hallo. This is Lupita Nyong'o. Are there any questions for me concerning my devastating portrayal of the suicidal slave girl Patsey?
- Will I take Oprah's Oscar datalounge?
- big box office bomb=no Oscar for you Lupita
- [quote]Don't get me wrong I'd give it to Ejiofor, but the aging, very white Academy may not be comfortable giving it to a first-time nominee most of them had never heard of until this year, especially if Old Guard members like Redford or Bruce Dern are also nommed.
And he has a weird name.
- I'll bet Viola is just wonderful in this. She always does such penetrating work.
- The director, Steve McQueen is from England. Why the hell is he directing a film about slavery in America and he is from England? Why doesn't he do a film about the shit England has done to Africa and India rather than giving American people a lecture on our past? The Europeans love to mock the United States because they think the United States is happy to be a doormat for the world.
- BTW, on the message board about this film, it seems like it is stirring anger.
Here is a message from someone on the mess board for the film from IMBD what he wants to say:
I don't watch movies like this or Django- at the movie theater...my hatred for whites is off the chain already and this will really push me over the top and might lead me to violently "acting out" towards them. If I watch a movie like this it will be in my home. As graphic as it is described it is NOTHING compared to reality. Some whites say it's "no big deal" but how many of them would want to see their 12 year old daughter brutally raped repeatedly by an adult male? NONE!!!...So quit with the silly slogans and hypocritical nonsense because "karma" can even out the score...
- One more thing, I'm sorry but this is convenient that they came out with this movie when it is going to be the 75th anniversary of Gone With The Wind. I have always loved Gone With The Wind and I still do. I take it as just a film and a fictional story ,but people take it much more than just a fictional story to the point they make it political which is ridiculous,good grief! put it into perspective people!
- R36, I happened upon a Tyler Perry movie and watched about 10 minutes of it. If I didn't know better, I would say it was a parody or satire of a really bad race-issue movie. Just excremental.
- Chiwetel Ejiofor should have been nominated for Dirty Pretty Things...
- I loved him in Kinky Boots. He SINGS! He was really good. He has an extensive stage background, and he has an OBE from the Queen.
He's not married. Anyone know anything about him? I want him to get nominated. He has been nominated for awards so many times, but never an Oscar. He deserves it.
- R52, you're nuts.
- "What ugly lies has Hollywood been telling about slavery?"
I guess she's referring to GONE WITH THE WIND and THE BIRTH OF A NATION. But those movies were made a R-E-E-E-A-L-L-Y long time ago, and since then there have been lots of other, far more truthful movies about slavery, several of which have already been listed here: MANDINGO, AMISTAD, DJANGO UNCHAINED, and so on.
- I'm Black and I enjoyed GWTW. It was a FICTIONAL account of a White southern belle. The best character in the movie was the black maid. Growing up I didn't look to that movie to teach me about slavery. Or any movie for that matter. I read books & actual accounts.
- Lupita Nyong'o is absolutely stunning. What a face!
- I hope this movie makes Luoita a successful star.
As for GWTW, I watched it with my sisters when we were young teenagers. We are African American. We took it for what it was, just a story about a Southern Belle, Scarlett O'Hara. I loved the character.
As I thought about it, yes of course there were stereotypes, but it wasn't limited to the Black characters. There was the Whore with a heart of gold, (Belle)there was the woman of quiet strength who everyone loved. (Melly)There was the rogue-ish charmer (Rhett) and the limp- dicked dreamer. (Ashley.) Stock characters and stereotypes.
Some of the Black characters were good, strong characters even if stereotypical, like Mammy, and Uncle Peter, and Big Sam. I certainly never thought the movie glorified slavery. It was told from the Southern point of view.
It showed how, after the war, those who could adapt and move on thrived, and those who didn't were bitter and impoverished. It certainly never affected my perceptions of who I was or deluded me in any way.
- I just got home from seeing it and the film is absolutely stunning. A masterpiece in acting, directing, and writing. The cast is perfection and if Ejiofor, Fassbender and Nyong'o don't win Oscars, I don't know what they even have awards for. This is not hyperbole, this is fact: the film is a triumph.
Oh, and whoever said the movie will make no money, don't be so sure: the screening I attended this morning in Manhattan appeared to be sold out.
- Blacks are a loyal demographic who've propelled Tyler Perry films, Think Like a Man, and The Butler to #1 at the box office. They'll turn out in droves to see 12 Years a Slave, as will white women and various other minority groups. White men with good taste in film will also turn out...I'm confident it will surpass The Butler in total box office receipts.
- Brad Pitt's in it too. That's worth something at the box office.
- Yes, hippy stinky homeless looking real life alkie/drug addict Pitt. Which is why I'm not interested in it.
However, Lupita N - my god what a face. Breathtaking. I literally had to remind myself to breath, she is that stunning from the pix here.
- [quote]upita N - my god what a face. Breathtaking. I literally had to remind myself to breath, she is that stunning from the pix here
- I agree, Lupita is stunning. Hopefully, she will have a career beyond this film.
- R66, I agree with you. I can't stand Brad Pitt. Also, Lupita N is absolutely very pretty.
- Fuck the movie which most of us won't see. Let's turn this thread into a Lupita Nyong'o thread.
Linked is the NY Observer calling her a "gorgeous rising star".
- When I look through those programs on Africa I am amazed at how fucking stunning looking the people are. The women could all be models.
Lupita is from Kenya. What is it about American black people that leave them not as beautiful as the people in Africa?
The natural hair style & amazing facial features of Lupita makes me think American black people really have it wrong. Black celebrities bleaching & nose jobs & facial reconstructions leave them looking awful. I'm talking to you Beyonce & the Caribbean Rihanna.
Lupita is 100% amazing looking & natural.
- [quote]And now, finally, maybe we can all agree that slavery was a crime against humanity and a bitter legacy this country will never be able to shed, because it tells something crucial about us as a nation. Or them as a nation, who became us. Or just them.
It was a crime perpetrated by several countries. Most of western Europe invested heavily in the slave trade. Elizabeth I saw the slave trade as a means for raising money for the crown, which was cash poor in those days. She financed one of my ancestors to go prove the triangle trade worked. It did work. The crown made money from slavery by the 16th century. This does not appear in the dramatizations of Good Queen Bess.
It was also a crime perpetrated by west African kingdoms, the royal families of which were all too happy to sell off their people for cash.
Slavery in the U.S. was established as British slavery, because it was a colony under British law. The U.S. fought a war over slavery 70 years after independence, and less than 50 years after we managed to stabilize as a sovereign nation. A million people died in that war.
Yes, we sucked for that and for racism ever since. Slavery was a brutal and genocidal institution that destroyed countless lives. I think the case can be made that the descendants of New World slaves are, in general, better off for than their cousins in most of Africa (except in Haiti) but that doesn't change the fact that it was a stain on human history.
But the crimes of the U.S. are shared, if not overshadowed, by the crimes of Britain, Spain, Portugal, and others in establishing the practice to begin with.
- [quote]Lupita is from Kenya. What is it about American black people that leave them not as beautiful as the people in Africa?
Mixing with pasty, ugly-ass crackers, perhaps?
- Lupita Nyong'O for Mame!
Oops, wrong thread. Sorry.
- What is amazing about Dargis is not just her bad judgment. She thinks that "Mandingo" is a good film! Has anyone ever seen it? Beyond camp--and the site of Perry King and Ken Norton buck naked had me jacking furiously when I was in high school. I still remember seeing the film the week it came out and then going home and beating off twice in a couple of hours.
- Most likely r73 & a most of that wasn't mixing due to preference but the rape of black women slaves.
In Louisiana there seems to have been some mixing due to preference between French people and black people & blacks in Louisiana owned black slaves, as did Native Americans, both in pretty large numbers.
- r53, first of all, I don't think it's all that likely that an African American would use "logcabnnut" as a screen alias. Sounds awfully freepery to me.
Second, I'm suspicious about the avowal that this purported Log Cabinite won't see it because s/he might be tempted to go kill white people, because of the massive, Mansonesque "oboy, there's gonna be a RACE WAR!!!!" meme that's so popular among extreme teabaggers and white supremacists.
- Slavery happened in the United States, but do we really need another movie depicting black people as slaves? Isn't this in some way continuing to prop up old stereo types? Shouldn't we have more movies today depicting the struggle blacks face in the 21st century? At what point do we stop looking to movies to teach us someone else's version (producers, directors, screen writers)of history?
There were 450,000 blacks brought to the United States from Africa. This figure has been quoted by several black historians including Henry Louis Gates. Another 11 million were taken to central and south American as well as the Caribbean. Does this movie focus on them? Does this movie focus only on plantation slavery and yet again ignores slavery in cities where blacks worked in hotels, homes, factories, and stores? Where's THEIR story? Does this story blame only the red states for slavery or does it blame the entire nation for promoting slavery until 1863 and slave emancipation?
I'm tired of these movies.
- WHITES need to feel more GUILT.
- anyone else actually see the movie?
- [quote]The natural hair style & amazing facial features of Lupita makes me think American black people really have it wrong. Black celebrities bleaching & nose jobs & facial reconstructions leave them looking awful. I'm talking to you Beyonce & the Caribbean Rihanna.
Don't forget the scraggly weaves. It seems that black American standard of beauty is how close to white you look. Ever since I can remember, women like Vanessa Williams, Lisa Bonet and Jasmine Guy were held as the ideal. Even today, the most "beautiful" black woman in Hollywood is actually half white Halle Berry; Beyonce seems to get lighter and her weaves blonder; And I just read on another site one of those Mowry twins married a white man so she could have kids with "good hair", and all she talks about in her reality show is her son's blonde hair and blue eyes.
- Interesting perspective r81 - same goes for Latinos as well. If one looks at Spanish television most women have bleached blonde hair (aka Evita) which looks like shit on them, and blue eyes.
And I have to say that Italy, Greece & Spain there's also the same problem.
SOME people look great with bleached blonde hair but most don't.
There's a lot of beauty in every race on earth imho, not just Swedes but it seems really odd how so many go in for that bleached look.
- How was the box office?
- yes, and they get plastic surgery to make their noses "white" too.
- R78, I agree with you. The French have always point the finger about American slavery. But you hardly hear about the extremely ruthlessness of the French when they took slaves. The French and the Spanish colonized Haiti and wiped out all of the natives of that land by over working them,and they were wiped out by various diseases to the point the natives of Haiti didn't exist after that.Haiti had a big problem because they ran out of slave labor ,so they brought African slaves over to Haiti to take the place of the natives. The French had a myriad of plantations in Haiti and the French plantation owners became very wealthy. The French plantation owners in Haiti were extremely brutal to their salves, which drove the slaves to the point they couldn't take it anymore. They an uprising and murdered a lot of the they plantation families while some of the French escaped.
Al Roker had a special on TV on the town of Williamsburg, Virgina ,and he claimed that 1/3 of the town owned slaves, really? I have been to Williamsburg, I love it, and that was a small settlement. There was no way there were that many people owning slaves in that small community. Slaves back then were extremely expensive, and only the wealthy could afford to buy slaves. I don't doubt there were slave owners in Williamsburg, but it had to be a small minority. Williamsburg had a lot of people back then who were middle class shop keepers and working class. Sometimes with historical factors, you can't grab the first thing someone says just because that person says so. There are a lot of people who have personal agendas to manipulate and revise the truth of historical facts which happens a lot.
- You mean like your opinion r85? Just because you say it doesn't mean that it is true. I'm more apt to believe Al Roker over you. He is. Trained journalist and I am certain that he did his research on Williamsburg before stating it on TV. Sounds like you are the one with the agenda.
- Lupita Nyoung'o is simply devastating in this. It's one of the best debut performances I've ever seen. I think Academy voters who see the film will be unable to consider anyone else as anything else than also-rans in a Best Supporting Actress race she now owns. It's very early to say such a thing, but hers is the performance that stays with you days later.
Ideally, Ejiofer and Fassbender (who are both superb) will also be frontrunners. The film is unbelievably good.
- R87, Thank you for giving your view on the film....still waiting for those who have seen it this weekend to give an opinion.
- So far it's a box office success (in limited release of course.)
It made $960,000 in 19 theaters $50,525 per screen average. That's one of the best indie openings this year.
- A few celebrity Twitter reactions to 12 Years a Slave...
Michael Moore @MMFlint18 Oct
Tonight 1 of the best films of the year- no, the DECADE- opened in NY & LA (the rest of u get it soon). It’s “12 YEARS A SLAVE”. Speechless.
Ellen Page @EllenPage28m
Cannot stop thinking about 12 Years a Slave. See it as soon as you can.
kerry washington @kerrywashington
GO SEE #12YearsASlave
GO SEE #12YEARSASLAVE NOW! A SLAVE ISNT ALWAYS IN CHAINS. FREE YOURSELF! #REVOLT
- [quote] If one looks at Spanish television most women have bleached blonde hair (aka Evita) which looks like shit on them, and blue eyes.
That is a gross exaggeration. You've obviously never watched a second of Spanish-speaking television. And you know, naturally blonde, blue-eyed Latinos exist.
- R86, I agree with you that you usually can't take the word of a poster on DL without being skeptical. However, in Al Roker's case pointing out that 1/3 of the town of Williamsburg, Virgina were salve owners is a statement very ,very hard to believe and very questionable. You don't have to be a scholar to know that Williamsburg, Virgina was a very small community which would be really impossible to have 1/3 of the town own slaves. When I went to Williamsburg, Virgina, the tour guide showed us where the shop keepers lived, which were above or near their tiny stores. Also, the various homes in the town were very, very tiny. I don't doubt that there were some very wealthy people who owned slaves with a large piece of property as well. But again, 1/3? maybe if you are Helen Keller you can see it for yourself or you might be a complete idiot who can't use simple logic.
- This is an article on slavery and Williamsburg from the Washington Post.
Since Virginia was a southern slave state, it's really no surprise, is it?
- [quote]Diddy @iamdiddy25m = GO SEE #12YEARSASLAVE NOW! A SLAVE ISNT ALWAYS IN CHAINS. FREE YOURSELF! #REVOLT
Why couldn't it have been him & Suge instead of Biggie & Tupac. Shit floats, I guess.
- There is something I want to add. Maya Angluo was once asked, don't you feel angery torwads white people becuase your ansetors came from slave beginnings in this country? She said why why should I be angry at people today? Those people who were slaveholders back 160 years ago were the ones responsible for those crimes not people who are living in the present time.
Also, someone mentioned that all states were responsible for owing slaves from Africa? really? Hawaii? Arizona? California? Orgen? Washington state? Utah? Nevada? Those states enslaved the natives in those territories but they did not have African Slaves. Also, slaves were extremely expensive and the wealthy were the people who could buy them. It was extremely rare for Yeoman to have a slave.
A lot of people whose ancestors came to this country through Ellis Island,and were extremely poor immigrants who should not feel responsible what others did. Without a doubt anyone knows the system of slavery was beyond inhumane and very ugly. For the those who are connected with this film to make a statement that people have to grasp at how awful slavery was are complete jerks and who sound like the are not from America because slavery has been discussed and it has been well known for a very long time. We know the damage a whipping dose to the human body, the masters who rapped the African female slaves which was extremely and sadly common, the families separated, etc. I have many, many books on the history of slavery because it fascinates me that there was a society who actually believed that this horrible way of life was normal.
BTW, I have books by primary sources who slaves who told what it was like. It varied but the basic degradation was evident.
- r82 is right, unfortunately, r91. Seeing olive-skinned women with bleached blonde hair looks just off. And not just latinas, but lots of Greeks, Spaniards and Italians (Greece and Italy is full of women who look like Donatella Versace). Of course there are blonde Mediterraneans, but they're as common as swarthy Scandinavians. Italian Carla Bruni and Spaniard Penelope Cruz are just two women who've never gone down that road and look absolutely beautiful with their natural colouring.
- What does Oprah have to say about this film? She'd be gushing about Lupita by now if she wasn't competition.
- Agree r96 - Madonna is a perfect example of this. She looks vomitous with that blonde hair, always has. Her natural hair color is dark brown/black & she'd look so much better with darker hair. The blonde hair ages her.
Frankly that blonde weave/wig is again Beyonce too.
- I love Lupita Nyoung'o for not allowing Michael Fassbender to get at her pussy. He wants it so bad and she's not letting him have so much as a sniff.
- r99 another reason to like her. Fassbender is really shitty to women, and especially to women of color imho. He uses them like kleenex.
- R97, She's competition for her Oscar...there's no way Oprah is going give Lupita free publicity. I would love to hear what she thinks of the film...time will tell.
Also, Lupita is a Yale grad...she's no dummy! She sees Fassbender for exactly what he is...a dirty low down dog!!
- I was doing a family tree on ancestry.com and I found out that my paternal great-grandfather owned 45 slaves. Though I vaguely knew some of my Southern ancestors had slaves, seeing that number in the census really shocked me.
I do wonder if he was a shit to his slaves. I hope he wasn't.
On my mother's side, I found out that her grandfather was from Indiana and after the Civil War, his father moved to Louisiana with his family and was given a plantation - so he was a carpetbagger. They ran the plantation into the ground and ended up broke so I suppose, without slave labor, the plantations were no longer profitable.
- Hallo Lupita again. Michael Fassbender's cock is hard for me when I walk in the room. Will you see me at the oscar show? Oprah is shit. Thank u for the praise datalounge. I will be here often through oscar season.
- on my mother's side, on my father's side, there were slaves... stfu. anything to find yourself interesting huh?
- I agree totally R100! Lupita is a talented, intelligent woman and deserves better. Fassbender has the air of a fetishist about him and I'm glad Lupita is not involving herself in that.
In the mean time it's amusing to watch him squirm because he can't get what he wants.
- I give Michael big hard-on and he does nothing for me. He is too much kink. I dance when he watches then I put my nose in the air when I see the hard-on, I don't want michael.
- It must kill Fassbender to be rejected like that, but the way used and discarded that black chick who co-starred in 'Shame' was cruel. And what's with his obsession with black women?
- R102, and any others who would like to know, read
"When I Was a Slave: Memoirs from the Slave Narrative Collection by Norman R. Yetman. This book is fantastic because you receive primary accounts what slave life was like instead of what Hollywood tells you what slavery was like. This book was written in the 1930s and it is still in print and going strong.The author interviewed as many ex slaves as possible who weer older by the 1930s and he knew they were dying away so he tried to record as many people's experiences as possible. You will discover their experiences varied and it wasn't one generalized experience. It's super fascinating to read!
Incidents In The Life of a Slave Girl: The Life of Harriet Jacobs (With Study Guide and Historical Analysis) by Harriet Jacobs and Linda Brent This is an autobiography of a woman who was raped when she was 13 years old by her master. This was published in the 1860s. She tells her story and you receive a primary account. This another fantastic book I highly recommend.
Booker T. Washington is superb and fascinating( BTW, I think he was handsome too). Fredrick Douglas was another ex slave who wrote about their experiences and they went on to do fantastic things in their lives. Both fantastic to reads.Also, both primary sources.They both had two very different experiences.
I hope these recommendations which is a tip of the iceberg book list on a subject that is endless, which I have highlighted that are out there on this subject ,which I love and I hope will interest anyone on this thread too?
- R107, it's more like an obsession with non-white women. He has zero love for white girls although he will sleep with them in a pinch.
If he were a respectful boyfriend, it would be different but it makes me uncomfortable to see this white man go thru WoC like kleenex as someone up thread said. Additionally, he seems to go for co-stars (Zoe, Nicole) giving his affairs an air of whatever is handy rather than actually loving or caring about the person.
- R107, Why do you care what his preferences are? He likes what he likes simple as that. Is he supposed to put white women on a pedestal? He thinks WOC are more attractive...good for him. If your asking the question then we pretty much know YOUR preferences on BEAUTY!
Too bad Fassbender is an asshole and treats women like shit!! WOC should stay far away from this man!! He's not worth the time or hassle.
Lupita stay strong...
- Is he an asshole or not?
- Lupita went to Yale Drama School. Fassy isn't dealing with a bargain bin skank.
- We need a new Fassbender thread.
- I did enjoy Liam Neeson's 11" cock during shooting of awful movie Non-Stop (out in theaters in February!). He's is a gentleman unlike Michael. And he shrieks in Gaelic when he cums.
- I said it before, prob. on the Fass thread but it's not just Fass, it's Robert DeNiro, Robin Thicke, and other men that "love" BW - but they love the IDEA of them. They use WoC like kleenex. This includes the billionaires that currently are dating WoC. All except for George Lucas (who is an asshole in many many other ways).
BTW, what is really weird about Thicke is that he's into WW on the side, not BW at all.
- I'd love to hear more discussion on this incredible film in this thread, but I guess that a lot of people still haven't seen it.
Also, this lame-ass person pretending to be Lupita and writing in broken English is an idiot. Lupita is a Yale grad and speaks pretty much without accent in unbroken English. Get a life.
Michael Fassbender did not fuck and then discard a black woman in "Shame." The character he played did.
- We weren't discussing Fass in Shame but in his real life. This is what he does. WoC should stay away from him.
- R117, please read R107 and then read your own post again.
- The Lupita troll: Dead On Arrival. 1000x worse than M/Glenn.
- Ok, people...can we stop discussing Fassbender? Unless it's in regard to his character in the film. If you've payed your $18 then create your own MF thread...TIA!
Has anyone else seen the film this weekend? What was your take? What was the audience's reaction? Did you cry?
- [quote]Agree [R96] - Madonna is a perfect example of this. She looks vomitous with that blonde hair, always has. Her natural hair color is dark brown/black & she'd look so much better with darker hair. The blonde hair ages her.
Agree (re natural-brunette women who look better natural color). Mariah Carey is the worst offender. Admit it, she looks like a two-dolla Brazilian ho from the side streets of Sao Paulo when she does the straight blonde chemical-processed thing. Looks so much better, even gorgeous, with curly brunette hair with the auburn highlights, like in her early years.
- R120, I cried four times throughout the film, most strongly during the brutal 7+ minute whipping scene as well as when Patsey (Lupita Nyong'o) comes running after Solomon to say goodbye to him after he's been rescued. The last scene where he's reunited with his family was also a tearjerker moment. An older black woman who was sitting behind me was inconsolable long after the credits had finished. She was crying very hard while he (possibly) granddaughter sat patiently next to her holding her hand. Because many of the actual slave actors are unknowns it's quite easy to see them as only THAT character and no one else (unlike the Brad Pitt cameo which is one of the only moments in the movie that feels false. He simply is unable to shed his Brad Pitt-ness to play that pivotal character.)
- Just realized I spelled paid - "payed"...Yikes!!!
- R122, Thank you so much for thoughts on the film...I'm looking forward to seeing it. It may be awhile since I'm living in Europe.
- R92 when we resort to name calling we realize our arguments hold no water. They lived in smaller homes then. They probably initially did not have the resources to build large dwellings for their families or their slaves
- You won't hear peep out of this from Oprah. In any other year, she'd be all over it, going so far as to latch on to it as "our movie" like she did with Precious.
- r121 absolutely - & totally agree with the MC assessment.
- Lupita at the London premiere.
- I just saw Django......ANOTHER slavery movie is it too soon?
- Can someone describe the violent acts in the movie? Is it true there is a crucifixion?
- Sometime ago I thought I saw Lupita Nyong'o in Mexico. I may have a picture of her in my old laptop.
" born in Mexico, raised in Kenya, and educated in the USA"
Maybe it was her after all!
- She was born in Mexico when her parents were working there and moved back to Kenya shortly after, she has no memory of the country. She came to the US for college.
- so it wasn't her?
Still I'm going to check my old laptop .
- No, R129, it's not too soon.
It's right on time.
Except for Oprah.
It's a truly great film on every possible level. Steve McQueen is now three for three in a row. He's the real thing and so is Fassbender, who's gone three for three right along with him.
It's exciting to think that we have a lot of films ahead of us from these guys.
- Why did Brad Pitt have to put his grizzly, unkempt self in the movie?
- R130, to answer your question:
The main character played by Chiwetel Ejiofer is also almost-lynched and sort of dangles from a tree with his toes on the ground trying to support himself for many hours while the plantation goes about its business around him. Upon his initial capture, he is also beaten with a wooden oar-like thing until it breaks, then his captor starts to beat him with something else. He is also whipped later on in the film because of having harvested a low amount of cotton. Ejiofer also beats Paul Dano with the handle of a whip.
Sarah Paulson's character beans Lupita's character (Patsey) with a heavy crystal whiskey decanter in the head as well as scratching her nails down the side of her face. Patsey is also raped and choke-fucked by Fassbender's character as well as slapped in the face by him.
Then there's the very graphic, brutal whipping of Patsey that takes place towards the end of the film and lasts over seven minutes.
- Is there a chance Oprah and 'The Butler' might miss out on nominations entirely?
- Oprah will be able to purchase at least a nomination. Some things ARE for sale.
- Oprah might get a nomination but I doubt she has any chance to win.
- She's not an actress, she shouldn't win. She shouldn't even get a nomination but the other poster is right. Some things are definitely for sale.
- As noted in my post at R63, I thought the film was a masterpiece; however, I'm ashamed to admit there was one moment that completely took me out of the film. The scene where Michael Fassbender, as the slave owner Epps, appears onscreen wearing what looks like a long white nightshirt and nothing else. Seeing this I immediately thought [italic]Oh, fuck, Michael Fassbender is hot[/italic] and then scolded myself for forgetting I was looking at the portrayal of a monster and immediately clicked back into the film.
- R141, I think we can all relate and forgive that momentary lapse.
- Thanks, R142.
- Bravo! So we have a country that is racially divided more than ever before because of politics,and yet these complete fools from Hollywood drudge up stuff from the past to get people even more angry at each other than they are now, well done! good job!
People are fully aware how ugly slavery is through many,many films done before, good books that have been written on the subject, etc.So what do they want people to do? wallow in it? The country needs to heal if this country is going to move forward.
- I can't wait to see this movie!
- But R144, R141 spoke about a scene that could unite people: Fassbender hot in a nightshirt
- R144 can't wait to buy a ticket to the next Holocaust movie. And, trust me, there will be another one.
- More reviews? I'm about to lose a bet I'd made with friends about going through 2013 without seeing a movie in the theatre.
- Does Fassbender show his enormous penis?
- Hatred and derision of white people is de rigueur for the left...except when it comes time to fuck.
- ^^^Makes no sense and is an obvious attempt to derail this thread with race-baiting.
- Incredible movie. There's not much to say that hasn't already been said. An absolute classic.
The only part that I didn't like was Brad Pitt. I don't mind him (I often really like him), but he appears late and it is incredibly jarring. He can't escape his Brad Pitt-ness, and it pulled me out of the movie. Didn't he produce it? Maybe he had to put himself in it to secure financing.
But that's a minor quibble, the film is a masterpiece.
- Haven't seen the film yet, but in the book the character Pitt plays IS incredibly jarring. He is out of place and is an irritant to those around him. His opinions are derided by the planters around him and he is seen as a bit of a buffoon by everyone but Solomon Northrup who sees his abolitionist ideas as the only hope he has left. I don't know if it is addressed in the film, but he escapes from Louisiana one day before Northrup is freed in order to escape possible retribution from the slave holders in the area.
- R152, there is a thread about how Brad Pitt ruins every scene he is in for every movie he appears in. Why can't they just give the roles to a more capable actor? There are so many actors out there that are way better than Pitt.
- I've seen a lot of movies about the subject of slavery and racism. But there was something singular about "12 Yrs." The sense of evil, and menace, and horror that permeated the daily lives of the people, the wanton cruelty and perversity, gave it a certain kind of power I haven't seen anywhere else, with the exception of Schindler's List.
It was a powerful rendering of a story I'd read in high school, a very long time ago. A few scenes really stayed with me. The scene when Solomon and his wife & kids were in a store shopping for a travel bag, and a young Black man followed them into the store.
He was fascinated by the Northrup family. He was a slave, and was reprimanded for wandering off. Solomon's reaction was priceless. As if that young man were something he would rather not see or know about.
There was something in pre-enslavement Solomon, that enjoyed the acceptance he received from White Folk; as if to say, I'm not like those others. I'm better, different. His faith in White Folk was articulated repeatedly in the film, and betrayed almost as often.
Of course, in those times, without the cooperation of White Folk, he stood no chance of rescue at all. The other thing that struck me, was how the plantation slaves were forced to ignore and walk on by, as a slave was being brutalized.
They had to suppress any impulse to show compassion, not even a sip of water without risk of being beaten. The scene of Patsey and the bar of soap made me weep with anger. This movie was very detailed, and I was impressed with what McQueen did.
On a side note, as I was waiting in the lobby a nice little old lady and her husband were going in and she was very impressed because "Steve McQueen is in this movie, and I thought he was dead."
- Dying at the box office. Budget was $20m, it didn't even hit $2m since released. It is a bomb, a big one.
I blame Brad Pitt. No one wants to see the Skanky Hippie onscreen, ever. He is BOX OFFICE POISON.
- R156? You do realize it was only playing on 8 screens last weekend and is only playing on 123 screens this weekend...
- It's only playing in a few theaters you idiot.
For a platform release it's doing very well.
- You know, GWTW was of its times. Not just the story, but the way it was filmed. Twelve Years a Slave is more graphic, and more realistic. It's told from an entirely different perspective, too, than the narrative of GWTW.
Back in the 30's & 40's, movies were not gritty, graphic, and realistic, nor did general audiences care to see things thru the eyes of Black people, if they ever had the opportunity.
You may not be aware, but in a lot of films, Lena Horne and others were cut out of any movie version distributed in the south. There were Black filmmakers, but none of them, as far as I can recall, ever made any sort of response to the overtly racist, Birth of a Nation, which Woodrow Wilson happily screened at the White House.
It might be of great interest to some of you to take a class on Black Film. Fascinating. I took three classes and it opened my eyes considerably.
- I guess I'm in the minority as I was underwhelmed by the film. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o are both fantastic and there's no denying that the film delivers in portraying the horror of slavery...and yet....
I just never got involved, or fully engaged with the film. With the exception of the Ejiofor and Nyong'o characters, the people in the film are paper-thin, especially the evil white folk played by Michael Fassbender and Sarah Paulsen -- I actually thought they were rather laughable at times.
The pace is quite sluggish and the editing is very choppy -- some scenes are sudden and brief, others linger almost interminably.
I suppose it's a movie that should be seen, given the topic, but it's strikes me as being massively overrated.
- Haven't seen the movie yet, but the trailer looked awfully try hard and cheesy. I have to admit that I liked Shame a lot but did not get the hype about Hunger, which I thought was so over the top that instead of being moved I didn't care.
The Help also did get a lot of praise some years ago (incl. nomination for best picture) and I actually thought the movie was incredibly racist, insensitive and off putting.
Maybe McQueen bit up more than he could chew, of course Brad Pitt as producer is not necessary an ensuring sign for quality.
- kind of get that feeling, too, R161
I think the real story is interesting, but I am not too sure about this film
There is a lot of hype about Gravity, too, and that is not a very good film
- R161, I saw The Help and I liked the film ,but I thought it was not necessary that the maid shit in the pie and gave it to the lady to eat. I think that made the maid out to be on the same level.I would have had the maid bring it down a notch ,and had her character put a bunch of Ex-Lax in the pie to prove her point. That scene turned off many viewers ,and they were focused on the grossness of what the maid did than what her point was. That was stupid.
- r162, I think Gravity deserves its hype: it was something we've seen before, but done in a dazzling way that we've never seen before. I've seen it 3 times and each time it blows me away.
We've seen 12 Years a Slave before, but we've seen it better, I'd argue. (Personally, I think the much-maligned Mandingo is one of the most masterfully subversive movies ever made -- it makes the audience complicit in the horrors it is portraying.)
- TYAS...is doing exceptionally well for showing in a 123 cinemas across the country
Overall the weekend is $100M, or +15% from last year. Here’s the Top Ten list:
1. Jackass: Bad Grandpa (MTV/Paramount) NEW [Runs 3,336]
Friday $12.5M, Saturday $12.0M, Weekend $33.0M
2. Gravity (Warner Bros) Week 5 [Runs 3,707]
Friday $6.1M, Saturday $9.0M, Weekend $20M, Cume $199.5M
3. Captain Phillips (Sony) Week 3 [Runs 3,143]
Friday $3.6M, Saturday $5.2M, Weekend $11.7M, Cume $70.0M
4. The Counselor (Fox) NEW [Runs 3,044]
Friday $3.2M, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $7.5M
5. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (Sony) Week 5 [Runs 3,111]
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $2.8M, Weekend $6M, Cume $100.5M
6. Carrie (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 2 [Runs 3,157]
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $2.6M, Weekend $5.9M (-63%), Cume $26.0M
7. Escape Plan (Lionsgate) Week 2 [Runs 2,883]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $1.9M, Weekend $4.4M (-57%), Cume $17.5M
8. 12 Years A Slave (Fox Searchlight) Week 2 [Runs 123]
Friday $620K, Saturday $1.0M, Weekend $2.3M (+126%), Cume $3.5M
9. Enough Said (Fox Searchlight) Week 6 [Runs 835]
Friday $455K, Weekend $1.5M, Cume $13.0M
10. Prisoners (Alcon/Warner Bros) Week 6 [Runs 1,347]
Friday $320K, Weekend $1.0M, Cume $59.0M
(Nikki Finke is currently on vacation.)
- Is no one going to mention DL fave Benedict Cumberbatch?
- The screenplay for Gravity blew.
- [quote]the trailer looked awfully try hard and cheesy.
- Paramount, Brad Pitt Company Feuding Over '12 Years a Slave' (Exclusive)
Can you believe these greedy bastards at Paramount? These assholes wouldn't give Steve McQueen the time of day. Now, the movie is doing well at the box office and most likely off to Oscar glory - Paramount wants a piece of the pie.
- I thought the most interesting thing about the movie was how simple and straightforward it was. There is no agenda, no pontificating, nothing but telling a very simple story magnificently. It doesn't work and work and work for your emotions, but for me the scene where Nyong'o was whipped was absolutely devastating. This is not just a movie about slavery for the ages, but a movie about American history that deserves to sit beside the greats.
- Going to see this tomorrow morning. What can I expect?
- Wow, r160 my thoughts about the film are an exact match to your reaction.
I also think the film will not be a big hit at the box office. I saw it last Sunday at the AMC Times Square, the theater was nearky empty.
- I thought it was very well acted and moved along at a good pace. The production design was convincing and the music unobtrusive.
Yet I wasn't especially moved by it, and I didn't tear up until the post-film text on the screen, telling what became of some of the characters.
I wish Django had ridden in at the end and slaughtered Fassbender and Paulson's characters. Maybe that would have provided the catharsis I needed. Platt's reunion with his family just didn't do it for me.
- But it did make me interested enough to request the memoir from the public library, which I look forward to reading.
- Just saw 12 Years a Slave. This is one of the most incredible movies I have ever seen. I'm an American history buff and I am so thankful that finally a real depiction of the brutalities of slavery are finally there on the screen for all of us to see. It is painful to watch but the writing, storytelling, scenery and especially the performance add up to produce a stunning cinematic achievement. I haven't been so moved by a movie depicting such honesty since the Pianist. This needs to win best picture. This movie should be seen by everyone.
Some of the comments on this thread are horrifying. It is obvious that certain people need to see this film, aka r4, r78 & r144.
This film is based on a true story you assholes.
- Unfortunately, I've heard this film will make me despise Sara Paulsen more than I already do!
- Yah, she's a mega cunt in this r178.
- You won't hate her, you'll just laugh at her cartoonish performance.
(Really, if the Razzies took their job seriously, she and Michael Fassbender would be the frontrunners for Worst Supporting Actor and Actress in this film.)
- Truthfully r171 THR & the idiot commenters at THR have no idea wth is going on with Brad Pitt & Brad Grey (Paramount).
The deal is that Paramount has first look for everything that Pitt does. Pitt's Plan B has an office on the studio lot. Grey was Pitt's manager for years.
They are still super close and Paramount does a huge amt of advertising for every single (mostly bomb) pix that Pitt makes. They also get the financing, or specifically Grey does. Grey goes out of his way for Pitt every single time.
So now Grey wants payback, he's not directly going after Pitt but the people around Pitt like DeDe Gardner & others.
And btw, Grey is an epic bastard & Pitt is dumb as a box of hair.
- How is the fucking HELP an apt film to compare to this? There's some ignorant queens on here.
- There's a difference between a field hand and a house servant.
- It was very good but it wasn't mind blowing TO ME.
I feel a lot of these movies, especially about slavery and holocaust etc etc get such hype and people have subconsciously already decided they love the film before actually seeing it and formulate their own opinion.
Like I said, it was very good, there were some touching moments in the last quarter of the movie for me, and the new girl Lupita was sensational. That being said, I thought it was overly brutal and gratuitous....and for some reason I didn't care about the main character as much as I should have. Whatever its great to see, just formulate your own opinion
- R184, real slavery in America was "overly brutal and gratuitous". If the time of slavery had video capabilities, you would faint at the images of real brutality against human beings for 150 years, and you dare opine that a 2 hour movie was brutal?
- There's no denying that real slavery was far more brutal...thanks for stating the obvious. I felt it was unwisely long and drawn out in parts that didn't exactly need to be to help the story along and didn't make you feel more than already...not necessary, gratuitous.
Of course my opinion isn't popular....I said it was a good movie, just not a masterpiece.
- Brad Pitt was so distractingly bad in an otherwise pitch perfect movie. My god, he should just stick to producing at this point. He's 50 years old and still can't act! And it was especially jarring during his scenes with Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofer, who both acted circles around him. Jesus.
Sarah Paulson played a cunt so perfectly. The brutality towards Lupita's character probably hit me the most.
- Brad Pitt has always been out of his element around good actors. Even in that Fincher movie, "Seven", Freeman, Spacey and Goop were acting circles around him.
- This movie is not the second coming
People are so gullible.
- Just saw it today. Wow. Painful to watch. Painful. Made me feel guilty for being white.
- Actors don't and can't act circles around other actors. It's a collaborative effort. The actors work together to tell a story.
- 175- the point of the movie isn't to give you a fucking orgasm. I didn't cry either but that's not the point.
- the point is to tell you exactly how brutal slavery was. And it did that. It was the most horrible movie I've ever seen. Enough Said, The Way Way Back, Gravity, and even Prisoners were obviously much more enjoyable. But 12 Years a Slave is important and should be shown to all and especially in schools.
- Painful. Made me feel guilty for being white.
R190! so their goal of this film is working! Feeling sad and disturbed about what you see and hear is without a doubt,but you feel guilty what did 160 years? Like hell am I going to feel the tiniest ounce of guilt.
Everyone should read the collective primary accounts complied in a book back in the 30s called
When I Was a Slave: Memoirs from the Slave Narrative Collection (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback Norman R. Yetman
Slavery was a horrible industry. But,there were various experiences. Some experiences were much more brutal than others. Some slave owners wanted their slaves in good shape to work. It was like, if you have damaged machinery it won't function and in a swift manor in order to get the product out to make money. This has always baffled me why there were slave owners who were brutal to their slaves if they wanted them for a purpose, which is to work to get their field work done.
Rape was across the broad and that was very common. And it was very hart breaking from the male slaves who felt paralyzed and angry that they couldn't protect some of the young females slaves being raped by their masters. Like I have have mentioned above, I highly recommend the book above.
- Saw it didn't enjoy it. It's a compendium of torture scenes. One looks for character development and I found the characters either cliches or static. I wouldn't mind seeing the leads Chewie and Lupita in something else though.
- The director was born and raised in England. Why doesn't he lecture the British on what they did in the British Empire to Africa? Why doesn't he lecture on what the various other European nations did to the continent of Africa? Steve McQueen was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2002 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to the Arts,and He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2011 Queen's New Years Honours List for his services to Visual Arts. Two awards that represent the British Empire which had supreme control over Africa. He is hypocrite! Also, he said we need to be educated in this country on slavery, why is a foreigner telling us we need to be educated on our history when he doesn't do anything about his own backyard where he was born and raised in which is England? Many nations don't like the United States and they like to find fault with our nation any way they can.I have relatives abroad who have told me that a lot the people who live in their counties like to criticize the United States on everything.Yet, Europe, especially England, colonized Africa and they were brutal with the natives of Africa, and they did much more damage to Africa than America did.
How many black people are in British parliament? How many black people were elected as prime ministers in their country? Yet, we have Africa American men and women who are in congress, we have elected our first mixed race president who is part African American, we have many rich and famous African Americans and powerful people part in the 20th century ,and much more in the 21st century. This whole issue is exhausting.
Also, there are reviews of this movie which people are comparing this film to Schindler's List ,and the director, Steve McQueen, claims American slavery is the equivalent to the Holocaust?! RIGHT!
Did anyone take the slave's Skin and make objects out of them? like the Jews and others in the concentration camps who had lamp shades made out of their skin?
Did the slave owners make pillows out of the slave's hair like the Nazi's did with the people in the concentration camps?
Did they make soap from the slaves with the fat of their flesh as the Nazis did to the Jews in the concentration camps?
Did they use the babies for target practice like the Nazi's did to the Jewish babies?
Did they use human fingers for fixtures for their homes like The Bitch of Buchenwald?
Did they do any medical experiments on the slaves as they did to those in the concentration camps?
Without a doubt, they did a lot of horrible things to the slaves,and it is insane to claim that the slaves had it made. But, to say it is the same as the Holocaust is outrageous.
- The Bitch of Buchenwald
- The Babies used as target practice and other atrocities.
- Yes R192/ R193, but it is not a Best Picture Winner.
- They are planning to remake the mini series "Roots" on the history channel. WTF? The original was so great why not just rebroadcast the original series instead of doing a remake? I see hollywood is trying to cash in on somebodies else's suffering. Why not do a film on the Haitian revoulution? That would be more interesting where you had a black man Toussaint Louverture leading the revolution.
- R200 I agree with you R200. Haitian history is very fascinating.
- I thought the movie was stunning and surprisingly story-driven coming from McQueen whose previous movies were overly self-indulgent showcases for his artistic sensibilities.
I didn't think Ejiofer was all that great though. He was fine but frankly his performance isn't on a level to compete with McConaughey in Dallas Buyer's Club at the Oscars. Fassbender and Lupita were the standouts.
One thing that struck me: when Solomon was sold for $600. I found a Hofstra website on the history of the slave trade and they give the equivalent (in 2013) as approx. $18,000 for a "field hand" and much more for a qualified, trained worker.
If slaves were that valuable, it doesn't seem very likely that slave owners were allowing overseers to kill them off or abuse them so badly that they could end up disabled and unable to work. Slavery was basically a business proposition for the owners, beyond the obvious amoral and unethical connotations.
- Old black woman troll from the Windy city was all over this thread mid-October. The Brangelina subset to most comments are it talking to itself. This site always takes a big dive in hit counts when she's holding court. Obsessed with Angelina Jolie and daughter Zahara, she can't get the response here she gets at other web addresses, who are on to her.
- r196, I didn't love the movie (just liked it, it's massively overrated), but Trans-Atlantic Slavery WAS a holocaust. It's estimated that 1 to 2 million people died in the crossing alone between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. And who knows how many were killed once they arrived.
One punishment from Haiti that has stuck with me was burying a slave up to their head, then pouring honey over their head so that ants and other insects would swarm all over him/her.
It was despicable and horrifying. Holocausts can't be "quantified."
- The truth is that as important and good as this film is, it simply is not on fire with audiences the way one might have thought. Although it's compared to Schindler's List in quality and the way it addresses a horrific time in history, it hasn't seemed to caught the zeitgeist as Spielberg's film did. I suspect Gravity is now the film to beat for Best Picture.
- "If slaves were that valuable, it doesn't seem very likely that slave owners were allowing overseers to kill them off or abuse them so badly that they could end up disabled and unable to work."
Unlike most modern businesses, which motivate workers with both punishments and rewards, slave plantations motivated their workers with pure fear. It was necessary to abuse a few, or even cripple or kill some, to put enough terror into the others to keep them working hard under brutal conditions. A good overseer would be aware of the profit/loss upshot of brutalizing workers.
A smallholder with a few slaves couldn't afford to injure them too badly, but someone with hundreds of slaves would consider it to be normal plantation management.
- The overseer did get in trouble for abusing the leading character, didn't he?
And I expected the lead to get killed once he beat up the overseer, but he didn't.
- R196 Uh, maybe because the book was about a slave in the U.S. and he was adapting it?
And playing "dueling oppressions" is SO 1970s!
- What the hell is R203 talking about?
- I'm reading the book now, and can't wait to see the film.
- Clooney and Pitt do not have the acting prowess to play the part Dujardin did.
- And playing "dueling oppressions" is SO 1970s!
R208= Brad Goreski
- Lupita will walk off with that Oscar.
I agree that something about this film was very different from prior films.
"12 years" was Solomon's story, but it clearly was aimed at the Psychopathology of Slave holders themselves. It succeeded.
To be any slaveholder required the denial of humanity, the absence of compassion - even Ford's character capitulates rather than risk conflict.
Brutality and sadism were uniform in the Southern Psyche, that is the best that can be said for any of them - even Alfre's owner/lover. Juxtapose even her position against the life of Freemen in the North, and it rings true.
I think this film should be required viewing in American History classes. Who would oppose it - why Republicans of course!
This film speaks directly to Cobert King's editorial that referred to the GOP as "The Soft Power of the New Confederacy,"
Todays GOP voters are the moral equivalent of Southern Slave holders. The utter lack of compassion, the total disregard of suffering for human beings that are only superficially different from them (ethnically/racially or economically) is their common bond.
The pursuit of profit above all, the utter denial of suffering - the rendering of humans INVISIBLE is the very definition of the GOP today. Add the utter denial of EVERY SINGLE GOP voters crass racism towards President Obama.
- R213, now that is stretching it. That is distorting history as tool to use against a political ideology that you don't like. That is a desecration to those who truly suffered in the slave trade and it's offensive.
- I want to say something else about the director who claims this is the equivalent as the Jewish Holocaust ,and to some posters on here who agree a bit with that statement. They are not the same thing. Nazi's were aiming to obliterate the entire Jewish race or ethnicity,but the Africans were taken prisoner and enslaved to be free laborers to make individuals wealthy.
- It is odd that Sarah Paulson is in it. Does she play a part similar to the one she played in Django?
- I saw the movie and Chiwitel did not move me. He often acted like he was in a gay porn and not a slave movie. Lupita, Sarah and Fassbender were great.
- Sarah Paulson wasn't in Django.
- 214 I am not competing for suffering nor making todays racism the equal of 300 years of overt brutality.
I AM saying it is the same mentality. The entrenching of poverty, hunger, the creating of Stand Your Ground gun laws that are selectively enforced (African American Community across America is NOT imagining that) and now the creation of Jim Crow
voting laws selectively applied to HBCU communities for example.
This is what Ronald Reagan's wink and nod to Dixiecrats was all about when he announced his candidacy in Mississippi, his promised resurgence of "States rights." Yep. Followed by his famous slur of mothers trying to feed their babies as "Black Welfare Cadillac driving Queens." Reagans racist pandering made the repukes what they are today, ascendant.
We now have a repuke Scotus reinstituting Jim Crow democracy.
Soft Power of the New Confederacy Indeed. Same damn mentality, sadistic, indifferent to human suffering, hunger, poverty and all about greed.
- Eric Cantor's gutting of Food Stamps/SNAP (such a good Christian man!)
Make him the moral equivalent of Epps, minus a days growth.
- Er... Eric Cantor is Jewish.
- Technicality. Cantor believes in creationism.
African Americans have been singled out by these policies.
- The movie was so so, but from a historical and social standpoint, it was wonderful.
It actually gave the black slave lead agency. A lot of movies about slavery have a patronizing image of blacks and slavery in general. This also seemed to be realistic in the sense it depicted explicitly the raping of black women and the economics of slavery. That is that slaves weren't just killing people left and right since they had debts to be paid.
- I saw this today and I agree with a lot of what you said R223. It is a powerful and important film for a lot of reasons, and its depiction of slavery puts to shame every other feeble film attempt.
However, as a movie it wasn't moving to me as I hoped it would be. I think it was victim of its own hype, I expected more. I can't even verbalize what was missing for me, but it just doesn't have that special something that really makes it a great film.
- r224. I agree. I actually wasn't that invested in the characters. I actually felt bad that I was relatively unmoved by the whippings and brutality.
But I think the movie is important because it was a true story that actually had a happy ending. It also avoided a lot of movie/literary tropes that can be demeaning to black people.
- I saw the film tonight and it is excellent and I agree with what a lot of the posted have said previously. The acting is great throughout, except for Brad Pitt, but it is not entirely his fault: that character comes from nowhere and is 99.9% virtuous.
I haven't heard too much talk of the rolls the slaves themselves played in their own situation which I think comes out in this film. How Solomon "looked the other" way when he was a free man, how the slaves turn their heads to the beatings, etc. Of course, what COULD they do, but there were enough blind eyes to go around and more than a little Stockholm Syndrome portrayed in the film.
- I'm "oh dear-ing" myself!!!
- Oprah was interviewed by the BBC. She said when you watch The Butler and the film, 12 Years A Slave, you finally get it to the root of racism. Like no one knows about slavery and racism already? Like no one grasps what rape is? what brutality means? There was no other film that came before these two films to grasp those factors?
Then toward the end of the interview, she said something that is very disturbing. (...) "there's still generation, generations of people who were born and bred and marinated in prejudice and racism and they just have to die. Watch the interview and see for yourselves.
- She's right.
- Did anyone else get the sense that the movie was saying "slavery was bad, sure, but THIS slavery was worse because he was kidnapped into it"?
- R229, she's right that people should die?You sound nuts like she is. She is evil and sick to say something like that. There will always be racism and racism comes in all races, ages, genders, etc. She is a major, major racist herself, BITCH!
- Oh fuck off, R231.
There's a special breed of overt racism that exists almost entirely in old people. They are from a time where that was 'OK'. And yes, those people need to die off. Most of them are in the Tea Party and are as old as dirt.
- R232, she wants generations to be wiped out and she is overgeneralizing and demonizing entire generations of people. Tough shit if you don't like what I said.She is a reverse racist, and by her statement, she will create a new breed of hatred and it will back fire on her.WOW! That is really going to win points with people, Dumb Bitch!
- Reading comprehension, cunt!
Must have touched a nerve. I take it you're an OLD FUCK?
She's not saying generations are going to be wiped out. Old people die! News flash. And when that generation goes NATURALLY, a lot (not all) of that rancid racism and homophobia will die with it. Will all racism go away? No! But younger generations are more tolerant and open minded than every before. And that's a good thing.
Again, the Tea Party is composed of that kind of right wing, old white trash mentality and it will be a GOOD thing when those people go.
- R233: You're a moron. Quit while you're behind.
- R234, R235, I'm young and I'm not old. You two are selfish assholes who just care about yourselves and no one else.
You two seem like a perfect couple who should get together because you both have a lot in common such as being two slime balls ,which 99.9% of the gay population don't want to date.But hey! look on the bright side, you two have each other. It's evident you two are sexually frustrated because you two turn to vibrators at night for companionship and sex. Now you two found each others soul mate on this thread.
- R236, you sound unhinged. Step away from the Internet for a day and go outside.
- I've been Googling and reading a lot of material concerning Northrup's book and historical record of his enslavement (which vary - though not as much as you'd think from being Hollywood-ized from the story presented in the movie).
Northrup was in fact purchased by William Ford for $1,000. At the same time Ford purchased Eliza and tried to purchase her daughter so they wouldn't be separated, but the slave trader refused to sell her.
Ford was apparently a very good guy as slavemasters go, very paternalistic but kind and didn't make his slaves work long hours. Northrup had nothing but praise for him in his book. But Ford had financial difficulties. He partially sold Northrup to the sadistic carpenter (Northrup was a very good carpenter) who beat Northrup twice. Northrup retailiated by beating the shit out of the carpenter and fled for his life back to Ford. Ford saved him from lynching. Ford went broke and had to sell off his 18 slaves and it is only then that Northrup was sold to another owner - not Epps - somebody else who didn't have a reputation for brutality but who eventually sold him to Epps who did.
Northrup disappears from the historical record in 1857 and it is assumed he either was murdered or was once again kidnapped into slavery during a trip to Canada.
- R237, I'm not unhinged,but my original point is anyone who says that people have to die in order for society to become a positive is a cold blooded statement and it is a statement that is beyond outrageous. It sounds like the Nazis which they believed if the Jews were obliterated society would be a much better place. That isn't forward thinking but that is backward thinking.
BTW, there are a lot of people who are furious with her statement because people are saying, we played a role in making you into a billionaire ,and now you are giving the same people the middle finger? This typical Bitchra.
- R239, you are the biggest idiot on DL. And that's saying something.
- Saw it yesterday. It was good; but not great. After all of the hype I was expecting more to be honest.
Questions...what was the purpose of Brad Pitt's character that came from out of nowhere? Was Fassbender supposed to be a pedophile?
That Lupita girl was the best thing in the film. She's going to go far.
- The Brad Pitt character actually existed. He was an itinerant Canadian architect/carpenter who built Epps' home and lectured Epps on the evils of slavery. He got word back to Henry Northrup in New York about Solomon's whereabouts.
Henry Northrup was a grandson of Solomon's father's owner (who had freed Solomon's father) and had been looking for Solomon since his abduction. Solomon's wife did know what happened to him (unlike the way it was portrayed in the film) as an English sailor on the ship that took Solomon to Louisiana mailed a letter Solomon gave him back to his wife.
I don't know who the little girl was in the film. There is a mention in the historical record of a 2 year old child belonging to Epps (maybe Patsey's child? Patsey seems to be the only woman on Epps' farm of child-bearing age). Maybe the movie was suggesting the little girl was Patsey and Epps' offspring?
- "Did anyone else get the sense that the movie was saying "slavery was bad, sure, but THIS slavery was worse because he was kidnapped into it"?"
The best way for modern audiences to understand how bad slavery was, is to see it happen to a regular Joe like ourselves. The protagonist is a free man, a working stiff like most of us, he thinks the way we do and reacts to being enslaved the way we would.
That's why his real-life story was made into a movie, and not the poor schlubs around him who were born into slavery. It's a story modern people can empathize with.
- I have to say, I feel like I understand slavery in a way I hadn't before I saw this film.
- Yes, r244, I can see that. It was told in a very matter-of-fact manner. I think holding the camera on scenes longer than we are used to also helped.
- Is R24 posting from 1964?
- Was "Network" the last movie to win three acting Oscars? I just saw "12 Years a Slave," and I think this movie has a real shot at duplicating that feat. Lupita Nyong'o seems to have the best chance to win--she was extraordinary. And Chiwetel Ejiofor has a great chance also. Before I saw the movie I thought these two would be it, but now I think Michael Fassbender is going to be hard for Jared Leto to beat. Leto's character is very sympathetic, of course, but Fassbender is fantastic--so scary.
By the way, I didn't realize until I looked at IMDB that Taran Killam played one of the charming kidnappers.
- The one problem I had with the movie (and I admit that the fault might be mine) was that I didn't have a good sense that twelve years had passed. I didn't know if he was with each of the slave owners for a matter of weeks or months or years. It wasn't until he saw his children at the end (and, of course, the title of the movie) that it was clear that so many years had passed.
- I rather see movies with black folks being lawyers or teachers, characters that have nothing to do with the color of your skin. Let it go folks. I get sick of these Oscar baits. Viola Davis getting nominations only for playing maids in stereotypical and bad movies.
- I'm glad this movie was made. It shows whites the way they really are. It made me dislike and distrust them even more than I already did. Their day is done!
- now that you vented r250, go clean the den
Blacks were involved in slavery as well, some black people were black slave owners. Your comment is just as racist as what you accuse white people of.
- R252, there is a man on the IMBD message board for this film who said he would like to kill white people after seeing this film. I posted this previously.Oprah said the older generations of white people need to die, right bitch! Like people who came from Ellis Island owned plantations, people who were born and raise in the West Coast had plantations too. I'm so sick of this and DL and others outside of DL go along with this revers racism!
- I was '12 Years A Slave' ... to FASHION!
- Can someone tell me if the rape scene is explicit? I hate watching brutality of that kind on film and I'd like to be prepared. TIA!
- It wasn't that the rape scene was brutal per se, but it was that it is hard for anyone to take that big Fassbender cock, willingly or unwillingly.