12 Years A Slave movie review - Aussieboyreviews


This brutal, upsetting, disturbing, but well-made slavery drama based on real life is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Expect graphic details and strong acting.


In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free African-American, is promised a fortnightly job by Brown and Hamilton. However, after arriving in Washington DC, he realises that he has been betrayed and sold into slavery.

Movie Images

Movie details

Director: Steve McQueen
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt
Writer: John Ridley
Release Date (Australia): 30 January 2014
Runtime: 134 minutes/2h 14m
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Country: USA, UK
Language: English

CONTENT GUIDE (warning: May contain spoilers)

Themes (MA15+)

The film contains themes relating to racism and slavery, in addition to disturbing scenes that feature people being raped and whipped.

Violence (MA15+)

There are lengthy scenes in which people are whipped and beaten, accompanied by depictions of strong blood and wound detail. There is also a brief scene in which a woman is raped.

Coarse Language (M)

The film features frequent use of the word “n****r”, as well as uses of “damn” and “bastard”.

Nudity (M)

The film features non-sexual depictions of full frontal male and female nudity, as well as buttocks nudity.

Sex (M)

A woman uses a man’s hand to masturbate herself.

mpaa rating

R (for violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality)

Aussie boy's thoughts

Even for the tough-hearted, 12 Years a Slave exhibits the most harrowing and painful depiction of slavery that only masterpieces are able to depict. It’s clearly a masterful film, graphically portraying the 12 years of Solomon Northup’s life in which he is abducted and sold into horrific slavery.

Overall, this film could not do at all any better at highlighting Solomon Northup’s story. Director Steve McQueen forces strongly towards displaying brutal injustice, extreme cruelty and nightmarish acts inflicted by humans. Before heading any further, viewers with hearts made of glass should stop here. The violence and threat is very distressing. But again, only a masterpiece owns the ability to make you want to shield your eyes.

The performances are excruciatingly exquisite; each Black person demonstrates true tension within themselves and impact the overall impact. The direction, again, is truly amazing. The effects, small details and extended moments are unforgettable. Why wouldn’t this amazing piece of history deserve high ratings and big awards.

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