12 Years a Slave

“I was so anxious to see this one, and so upset when a rollout release and then plans with mom made me hafta wait longer. Meanwhile, the Oscar buzz touting the film itself as well as several key performances kept building. I was going crazy with the waiting.

So I finally got to see it. Was the hype worth it? Yes and no. Yes, this is an incredible film. However, if I didn’t already know this was the Oscar front runner, would I have walked out of there saying so? Maybe not. I feel like every year you have the obvious best picture choice. 15 years ago, there’d be no question it would win. Now it’s a bit more hit or miss. Obvious choice The King’s Speech beat out The Social Network, but less obvious Argo beat out shoulda been obvious Lincoln. Two years ago War Horse was hardly a contender when it would have been practically guaranteed a victory in recent decades past. But we’ve clearly identified this year’s obvious choice.

Yes the film was flawless. Compelling story, phenomenal cast, gripping and emotional, pretty much everything you’d want. And yet nothing that stands out to me to make this film that special. One of the arguments in its favor is that it is one of the most real depictions of slavery Hollywood has ever seen, and I do appreciate it’s honesty about a subject that our country is ashamed of in its history.

The brutal truth of the movie would not have had an impact if it weren’t conveyed with such convinction by Chiwetel Ejiofor. I think I do currently side with him as the front runner for lead actor (at least a bit more convinced at this early stage). He’s been on my radar off and on since he played the Operative in Serenity, and I’m truly happy to see him take center stage in Hollywood right now. (PS – check him out in Kinky Boots, the movie the musical was based on, for a fun and vulnerable performance) So much emotion and determination conveyed thru his eyes.

Also a wonderful turn from Michael Fassbender. I recently talked about how charming he is. And we’ve seen him be conflicted and dark, but never as ruthless and heartless as in this film. To add another -less, he was just fearless in his approach as the uncaring slave owner, which was the way to go. To play a character that was sure to be hated, you can’t hold back, and he sure didn’t.

Lupita Nyong’o is also earning raves, but the woman who had my attention more was Sarah Paulson. Maybe it’s because I’m more familiar with her career, but her role was just as ruthless as Fassbender’s slave owner’s wife. And it was also as unexpected of her. More expected but no less fantastic to watch was Benedict Cumberbatch as the relatively nice slave owner from early on in the film. I would have been more than happy to have seen more of the film play out on his plantation.

Anyways, I do think this was an incredible film (as my rating will show) but I’m still not sold that it’s the best of this year. That doesn’t mean I’ve officially sided with team Gravity. It just means I still need some convincing one way or another

12 Years a Slave – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

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