Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: R Length: 133 minutes
Age Appropriate For: 15+. Probably the most truthful and realistic film about slavery in the United States, “12 Years a Slave” is an emotional assault: A good amount of cursing and lots of the n-word; implied (but not graphic) rape; whippings, beatings, stabbing, and an attempted hanging; emotional abuse and trauma. But this movie is so, so important and so flawlessly done; it never feels exploitative or grotesque. For teenagers, to really understand this ugly part of our country’s history, the movie is a must-see.
’12 Years a Slave’ is an Oscars frontrunner—or it will be, if everything is right with the Academy Awards. It’s the impeccably done history lesson we all need to see.
By Roxana Hadadi
There may not be a more brutal movie than “12 Years a Slave” that comes out this year, and that’s basically the point. Grounded in historical fact, loaded with affect and emotion and impact, “12 Years a Slave” is one of the most important movies you’ll ever see. It is an unflinchingly uncompromising, thoroughly engrossing, overwhelmingly depressing and simultaneously life-affirming film. It is a triumph.