Rating: 4/5 (after I had just watched it), 5/5 after it sunk in.
Fabulous ending but, for me, very confusing. I kept leaning over to ask Harry to explain things!
The British Curriculum doesn't teach American history so most of what I know is from films. I once took a course on Black History Studies but due to work commitments I dropped out after the first term. Well, I say "work commitments" but deep down I think some of the truths were too intense for me. Some of the knowledge actually started making me hate white people so I thought maybe I wasn't ready yet!
12 Years A Slave assumed quite a lot of knowledge and many of the scenes were horrific. The cruelty of American slave masters seemed to know no bounds but at least even within that there were a few glimpses that not everyone was so hard-hearted.
I loved the scene early in the film when a ship arrived at the port and one of the kidnapped slaves was immediately reclaimed by his master. They both seemed elated to see each other.
There were a couple of longeurs, for instance, the scene when Platt was lynched was left on for far too long - it was a very evil scene and not something that needed to be played out that long.
There were quite a few things that I didn't know, for instance, I am learning more and more that there were free black people in the North of America that led very ordinary lives. This makes me wonder:
I found the relationship between the last slave owner and Patsey most confusing:
Then there was the scene where that white farmer seemed to have married one of the slaves. I wondered whether that was actually the case and if so, how that worked given I understand there were laws at the time that disallowed interracial marriage.
Ultimately, this is a period in time with so many stories. I wonder to what extent films depict reality. 12 Years A Slave was an interesting, yet heart-wrenching lesson for me. I could never willingly watch it again, but I would definitely watch the sequel that tied up the loose ends.
"Black People Only Get Awards For Slave Films"
I have read many comments to this effect widely on the internet and I think this is one of the worst things that has come out after the film. 12 Years A Slave was a good film period. It won best film/picture at the Oscars because it was very well acted. We still live in a world where, by and large, mainstream films don't have black people as main characters.
I personally don't think good acting has anything to do with race. If you have a good story, a great producer and find people that can act, the makings of a good picture are all there. Those who get the opportunity to act at that level have the opportunity to win amazing awards.
I think anyone who holds the opinion that black people only win awards is rather small minded and isn't thinking about the bigger picture - not only the history - but the current status quo in terms of what producers think people will watch. 'Nuff Said...
5/8/2016 10:31:28 am
I enjoy your blogs, but felt compelled to respond. Many of the "slave movie" opinions are based on Hollywood's track record for not rewarding black actors for a job well done unless it is a negative or demeaning role/movie. Conversely, talented white actors win awards for heroic roles. People like to say oh it was so long ago, but my great grandmother received her first shoes from a union soldier. We aren't that far removed. I haven't seen the movie, but I think I can answer a few of your questions based on things my grandma told me. They probably didn't finish the story of the depressed lady being separated from her children because she likely never saw them again and didn't know what happened. The master was attracted to patsy, but didn't view her as a woman, just a thing that he wanted but hated because her presence stirred those feelings and resulted in self hate. Some "married" their slaves but legally they were always property. And there were laws against interracial marriages as late as 1998 in some southern states.
5/8/2016 10:32:15 am
I definitely feel what you are saying, it was not long ago at all.
5/8/2016 10:51:00 am
The depressed woman was killed because the slave master's wife did not like the depressed woman's constant crying.
5/8/2016 10:52:15 am
Oh my Lord!! Are you kidding me?? My brain does not even think that way. I thought she was sent away to somewhere or something...
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