100

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 injustice of the events keep McQueen and company utterly honest in their approach and in their collective act of imagining Solomon Northup's odyssey to hell and back.
Full Review
100

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 inhumanity to man. It is wrenching, but 12 Years a Slave earns its tears in a way few films ever do.
Full Review
100

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 Slave is outstanding — brave, courageous and unforgettable.
Full Review
100

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 slave, but about slavery itself.
Full Review
100

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 credit that we don’t.
Full Review
100

Time

By Richard Corliss
A document that is raw, eloquent, horrifying and essential.
Full Review
100

USA Today

By Claudia Puig
The harrowing 12 Years a Slave is a mesmerizing period drama for the ages.
Full Review
100

Variety

By Peter Debruge
Though the film brims with memorable characters, the show ultimately belongs to Ejiofor, who upholds the character’s dignity throughout.
Full Review
100

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.
Full Review
100

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 powder keg in the corner of your mind and forget it. What we have here is a blistering, brilliant, straight-up classic.
Full Review
97 out of 100
Universal acclaim
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.