The other day my wife and I made the rather unusual decision to go to the cinema together (what with us both working and two young children it's not a frequent occurrence)! Even though it was Valentine's Day we saw the rather unromantic but incredible film "12 Years a Slave".
It's a true story about an African American man in the mid 19th century, who is living as free man in Saratoga when he is kidnapped and sent southwards to be enslaved and put to work on various cotton and cane plantations. He spends the next 12 years enduring the most dreadful existence before finally being freed and returning to his family.
The film has no funny moments, no smiles, no laughs and is a wretched look into a true story which will sicken you to your core. But, the incredible acting and the fact that you know it really happened (and in relative terms not that long ago) makes you relook at your own life, how we treat people and how we feel about our 'freedom'.
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This is not a feel-good film by any stretch of the imagination and during some scenes I really thought I didn't want to carry on until the end, but I think it's a really important piece of work, directed by Steve McQueen that you should all see.