If you have not seen the Oscar winning movie, 12 Years a Slave, you have missed an incredible movie, filled with powerful performances.
Based Solomon Northrop’s autobiographical book, 12 Years a Slave is the story of Solomon Northrop, a free black man in 1867. Solomon, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor was an accomplished musician who lived in upstate New York, with his wife and two children. On the false pretense of a lucrative job, Solomon traveled to Washington, DC, where he was kidnaped and sold into slavery.
Solomon Northrup’s Life as a Slave
The movie follows Solomon from his life of freedom in the north, on a harrowing ride down the Mississippi River to being sold into slavery in Louisiana. His trials and tribulations take him from a reasonably ‘nice‘ owner (Benedict Cummberbatch) to being the property of what must have be the worst slave owner in the south, Edwin Epps.
Chiwetel Ejiofor gives a stellar performance as Solomon Northrop. Michael Fassbender is brilliant as the vicious and mean-sprinted, Epps. From Sarah Paulson as Mistress Epps to Paul Giamatti, a slave merchant, to Alfre Woodard and Brad Pitt, there is one incredible performance after another in this star-studded cast. If you watch closely you will also see Louisiana native and former Mad Man Sal Romano, Brian Batt.
Patsy’s Heartbreaking Story
The most outstanding performance in the film comes from newcomer, Lupita Nyong’o, the recent Yale graduate who stole our hearts as the slave girl, Patsy.
Lupita is heartbreaking as Patsy, the small slave girl with the indomitable spirit. She endures long hours of back-breaking work the hot cotton fields of Louisiana during the day. At night she endures constant sexual abuse (rape) from Master Epps and violent scorn from his wife.
From the first moment she appears on screen, Lupita gives the character such dignity and strength. Through all of the mistreatment and degradation, you can see the pain in her eyes. Yet, you know she is not broken by the experience.
An Award-winning Film
Director Steve McQueen has brought us a beautifully made film, with lush cinematography, powerful performances and a story that is a sad part of American history. For this, McQueen won the Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as Best Picture Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards.
Even though this was Lupita Nyong’o’s first role in a major motion picture, she has racked up a mountain of awards for this supporting role, including an Oscar. She has also become a fashion and beauty icon, thanks to her appearances on the red carpet.
What’s Next for Lupita?
Since 12 Years a Slave, Lupita has a small role in Non-Stop with Liam Neeson. She has also been casted in JJ Abram’s upcoming Star Wars movie. Until then you can see her as the new face of Lancome and on the July cover of Vogue magazine.