12 Years a Slave Synopsis
Free black New Yorker Solomon Northup is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South.
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Movie Reviews

Critic Ratings


Chicago Tribune

By Michael Phillips
While this is very much a McQueen picture, with visual flourishes and motifs unmistakably his, the historical urgency and staggering...
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New York Daily News

By Joe Neumaier
McQueen has made a film comparable to “Schindler’s List” — art that may be hard to watch, but which is an essential look at man’s...
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New York Observer

By Rex Reed
If the best films hold you in a captive vise, entertain you, keep you spellbound and teach you something at the same time, then 12 Years a...
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Time Out New York

By David Fear
Though McQueen continues to work his themes of suffering and spiritual transcendence, this unflinching, unforgiving drama is not about a...
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Movie Nation

By Roger Moore
McQueen and his stellar cast take us on a difficult journey, an odyssey that will make you want to avert your eyes. It is to their great...
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By Richard Corliss
A document that is raw, eloquent, horrifying and essential.
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USA Today

By Claudia Puig
The harrowing 12 Years a Slave is a mesmerizing period drama for the ages.
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By Peter Debruge
Though the film brims with memorable characters, the show ultimately belongs to Ejiofor, who upholds the character’s dignity throughout.
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Wall Street Journal

By Joe Morgenstern
Movie audiences have never been presented with anything quite like the intertwined beauty and savagery of 12 Years a Slave.
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Rolling Stone

By Peter Travers
Proving himself a world-class director, McQueen basically makes slaves of us all. It hurts to watch it. You won't be able to tuck this...
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disappointed in the state of Louisiana

By ss2330
I've been looking forward to seeing this moving, and counted down to the opening day. But was surprised and very disappointed that in the city I live Baton Rouge this movie was not being played at...

Should Win "Best Picture!"

By snw4931
I must say that I was not planning to see this movie at all. I didn't want to see another movie about the atrocities of slavery so that I would spend the rest of the week lifting myself out of the...

Strange Fruit

By MedRed
12 Years a Slave is an uncomfortable accounting of one man's horrifying tale of losing everything...even his right to be a human being. As expected, Hollywood does find the need to fudge the story...

Disturbing but Superlative Film

By johnkeene
One of the best depictions of US slavery ever portrayed on film, it's devastating in its horror and its truth. It lays bare the larger system of equating human bodies with money and property, and the...

Best movie I've seen this year. No question.

By Lv99_Slacker
Star Trek: Into the Darkness Fast and Furious 6 Man of Steel Iron Man 3 This Is The End Pacific Rim Blue Jasmine World's End Concussion Kick ***2 Gravity ^ These are the movies I've seen...

Everyone should see this movie

By rosenyny
This is a very important time in America's history that should be understood by every American. There is still much we can learn so as not to repeat history and to work toward preventing slavery in...

Twelve on a scale from 1-10

By Kevinjhampton
This isn't DJango, a superhero adaptation about a blackman's psyche, or Roots, a textbook documentary. Rather, Twelve Years A Slave is that dream you have about real life events, that causes cold...

Reply to "Disappointed in Louisiana" review

By cheers2day
It looks as though the reviewer below did not know all of the facts before throwing Baton Rouge under the bus. This movie was released early to large market cities only. It will be released...

Twelve Years A Slave

Great & Powerful Film! Not easy for the weak of heart, but a Story of history that needed to be told. I found mind blowing was that after all the labor, abuse, rape & just the mean & legal...

Must Go is a understatement

By kdaniellesq
This movie is an absolute must go for all. It is an American story about faith at a time when trying to simply survive and endure the world was a task. I had the great fortune of seeing this film...

More Info

Rated R | For violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality
What Parents Need to Know
Common Sense Media says Imperfect but must-see epic drama with major cruelty.
Read the Common Sense Media Review