Twelve Years a Slave tells the true tale of Solomon Northrop, a freeman from New York who is drugged and betrayed and illegally sold into slavery in Louisiana of the 1850’s. There, stripped of his dignity and personhood, he endures the entire gobsmacking, nauseating gamut of white racism (from careless to sadistic), and survives, albeit barely, with a massive and insurmountable scar on his psyche.
It’s a fierce, burning film and absolutely necessary. It is brutal and razor-sharp and unstinting in its observations of white supremacism, and it gives the audience none of those characters Hollywood usually throws out as a sop for whites to identify with and to assuage their guilt. Continue reading “Twelve Years a Slave”