Discussing :: Current movie recommendations (or not)... "12 Years a Slave"

#1

Wice
Current movie recommendations (or not)... "12 Years a Slave"

I attended a preview of "12 Years a Slave" last night. It would be difficult for anyone to say that it wasn't a riveting movie. However, I found that I had to shut my eyes again and again and would have put my hands over my ears too if I hadn't been embarrassed to do so.

This movie is a true story taken from a memoir written in the 1853. Like most adults, I cope with the bulk of movie/tv violence – shootouts, punch ups, stabbings, mutilation, strangling, etc. These are the stuff of everyday entertainment and we accept them as standard horror, police/forensic, historic, sci-fi drama or action.

However, although this movie was set in another country and another era, the violence and inhumanity depicted here was different. It was pure, raw and personal. We emotionally felt both the physical and the psychological pain of the victims. We felt the perpetuators veer from sanity and reason in their often manic grasping for control and self-preservation. Like the silent witnesses we felt helpless to act. Prolonged floggings, rape, hangings certainly make effective screenplay, but do we really need to see it in such detail? It made me wonder if this display of the ‘sins of the past’ rather than releasing them, might be perpetuating them to a modern audience.

Should a line be drawn? I can’t help but wonder why this movie was made the way it was – its purpose. Do we really need to see such brutality? As in a good novel, subtle suggestion and the imagination can be equally, if not more effective than having something exquisitely and repeatedly shown to us. Why “12 Years a Slave” has won and been nominated for so many awards is obvious. This was an excellent movie but I still am wondering if I really enjoyed or needed to see it.

#2

meow2612

Great to hear your thoughts on the movie. I like to go to the movies for escapism not realism so this one is not on my list of must sees!!

#3

teabag

I haven't seen this yet....but only because my friend thinks it will be too brutal for me and I will spend most of the movie with my hands over my eyes. Pity, cos the theme of the movie really grabs me.

#4

rps

I had no idea it was so graphic and I think you are right - sometimes it just gets in the way of the story (much like gratuitous nudity or sex). It's important that a story is told historically accurately but I think you can imply a lot instead of making the audience sick to their stomach. Thanks for the review!

#5

Cayce

I saw the preview as well, I started crying 10 mins in and didn't stop until I was on my way home. I felt so depressed all that night. It was great in regards to the making of the movie but horrible in regards to what happen - True Story, very very sad

#6

yodagirl

Its a shame its so graphic as I would love to see it! On a lighter note we saw "Last Vegas" this week and it was a great night out. Some of the jokes were a bit predictable but it was a lot of laughs!

#7

Claire1971

12 years a slave will scoop the Oscars, and deservedly so. But must give praise to the wonderful Philomena - both Judi Dench and Steve Coogan deserve recognition for this special movie.

#8

saffy

I have just finished reading another autobiographical story told by a slave and realised just how much my brain had glossed over the brutal parts in the book as compared to the visual brutality in 12 years a Slave. In no way did I feel that the violence shown is gratuitous as is often the case in Hollywood movies but this is certainly one film I cannot watch again although it is superbly directed with incredible performances by the actors. However what the movie did make me realise was that many of these scenes are still repeating themselves around the world. There are still numerous woman and children in slavery who are abused on a daily basis who have no rights and are not treated as human beings. In the 21st century the slave trade is still going on. What are we doing about it?

#9

Kate

My mum went to see this last night, she said it was a great movie but she couldn't look during the whipping scenes because she said it was just horrible, especially thinking that that sort of thing happened (and worst) but it was a reminder, she said, of what happened how far we have come since times like that.

#10

Eloursnz

I loved 12 Years A Slave, gritty and true. I like it when film makers show the dark parts even if it does make some a little uncomfortable

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