12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave (2013)

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, the New York State citizen who was kidnapped and made to work on a plantation in New Orleans in the 1800s. Steve McQueen (Hunger) directs from a script he co-wrote with John Ridley, based in part… More

Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: March 4, 2014
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Critic Score: 96% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: It's far from comfortable viewing, but 12 Years a Slave's unflinchingly brutal look at American slavery is also brilliant -- and quite possibly essential -- cinema.

Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer

It speaks to the courage and resilience of one man, the savagery of many, and the potential, for both good and for ill, in us all.

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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News

Every scene of 12 Years a Slave, and almost every shot, conveys some penetrating truth about America's original sin.

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Edward Lawrenson
The Big Issue

12 Years a Slave puts things straight -- and some. Anchored by Chiwetel Ejiofor's performance of contained fortitude as Solomon, the film depicts almost unrelenting institutional brutality.

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Tom Huddleston
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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Wesley Morris

The power of McQueen's movie is in its declaratory style: This happened. That is all, and that is everything.

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Rob Gonsalves

McQueen approaches the narrative straight on and sober, with long, long takes bearing the weight of cruelty.

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Dana Stevens

So overpowering is this film's simple, horrible, and almost entirely true story that it's hard to get enough distance on 12 Years a Slave to poke at its inner workings.

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David Thomson
The New Republic

It is a film that necessity and education demand seeing.

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Sean Burns
The Improper Bostonian

We've seen movies about the horrors of slavery before. This one is about the mechanics.

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More reviews for 12 Years a Slave

Flixster Audience Score: 90% Flixster User Reviews
Carlos Magalh„es
It's not really clear what McQueen intended with this unflinching but detached story of survival, as he throws together scenes of brutal realism with… More
Josh Lewis
A worthy best picture winner based on the excellent performances and the importance of the subject matter, but this is not an easy movie to watch. If you… More
Mister Caple
One of the best films of 2013. Nominated for an impressive nine Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Winner of… More
Al S
This is the crowing work of 2013. An instant classic. A true emotional powerhouse of a film. A triumphant masterpiece of the highest kind. An extremely… More
Lanning : )
So far, the best of the Academy Award contenders I've seen. Next would be The Wolf of Wall Street. 12 Years a Slave is a must-see.
Sanjaya 丘耀文
An Oscar winning movie? I definitely agree with the critics and audiences that root for this movie to take home the biggest prize of that night.. Not only that… More