12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

2014 Golden Globe (Best Film, Drama) and Academy Award (Best Picture) winner, based on the true story of free black man Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who was taken from his home in upstate New York and sold into slavery. From director Steve McQueen (Shame), co-starring Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Brad Pitt and Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and introducing Oscar winner (Best Supporting Actress) Lupito Nyong'o.

Waking up after a night with fellow musicians to find himself in irons, Northup undergoes a savage beating before he's even able to understand his plight - that he's been drugged and lured into the clutches of illegal slavetraders. Shipped to New Orleans and sold to a plantation owner, as Northup continues to suffer grotesque physical and psychological abuse he realises the gravity of his situation. While determined to return home to his family, Northup is forced to keep his head down in order to minimise punishment, hiding his educated past and biding his time to escape. But after a confrontation with a racist carpenter (Paul Dano), Northup finds himself sold to brutal, volatile plantation owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) and his struggle becomes not one of escape but simply survival.

Best Picture, Supporting Actress (Nyong'o) and Adapted Screenplay, Academy Awards 2014; Best Film and Best Actor (Ejiofor), BAFTAs 2014; Best Film (Drama), Golden Globes 2014
2013Rating: R16, Graphic violence & sexual violence134 minsUSA
BiographyDramaTrue Story & BiographyHistorical

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12 Years a Slave / Reviews

Flicks, Matt Glasby

Flicks, Matt Glasby

Despite reports to the contrary, Steve McQueen's Oscar-bait drama is not the greatest film ever made. It may well be the greatest film ever made about slavery, but that says more about the movie world than the work itself.

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Variety

Variety

This epic account of an unbreakable soul makes even Scarlett O'Hara's struggles seem petty by comparison.

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Total Film

Total Film

Visceral, vital and anchored by its earnest performances, this is a potent portrait of a shameful historical truth.

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Time Out

Time Out

The cumulative emotional effect is devastating: the final scenes are as angry, as memorable, as overwhelming as anything modern cinema has to offer.

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The New York Times

The New York Times

[Its] genius is its insistence on banal evil, and on terror, that seeped into souls, bound bodies and reaped an enduring, terrible price.

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The Guardian

The Guardian

Almost unwatchably shocking and violent film.

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The Dissolve

The Dissolve

A tough, soul-sickening, uncompromising work of art that makes certain that when viewers talk about the evils of slavery, they know its full dimension.

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Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

A strong, involving, at times overstated telling of an extraordinary life story.

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Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

Falling between the twin pillars of the art house and prestige period flick... history lesson as horror film, powerful, visceral and affecting.

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