Grade • A
DVD • You owe it to yourself to suck up your courage and watch “12 Years a Slave.”
Yes, director Steve McQueen’s depiction of the life of Solomon Northup, a free black in antebellum New York who is kidnapped and sold into servitude in Louisiana, is unflinching in its portrayal of the brutality and random cruelty of slavery in the pre-Civil War South.
But it’s also a lyrical and hauntingly beautiful drama, as Northup (sensitively played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) learns to adapt, survive and maintain hope. The supporting cast is strong, with none more dynamic than newcomer Lupita Nyong’o as a fellow slave.
Yes, it’s tough to watch, but its message of resilience is worth the effort.