In Upstate New York, black freeman Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), is approached by two circus promoters who offer him a high-paying job with their traveling circus. Without warning, he wakes to find himself bound in the cell of a slave pen. He immediately states his rights as a slave and for the first time in his life is beaten and told to never to mention his freedom again.
Throughout his twelve years a a slave he experiences cruel hardships residing at some of the most notorious plantations in the South. He witnesses acts that he couldn’t have imagined as a free man and unfortunately is even given the role of driver, requiring him to oversee the work of fellow slaves and beat them, until their entire bodies were covered in flesh wounds.
It’s not until he confides in a white carpenter (played by Brad Pitt) that Solomons true identity is revealed as a free man. Sympathic of Solomon, he sends a letter up north to Northup’s family. It is only then that Solomon regains his freedom and is rescued by his family lawyer and taken back up north to reunite with his family.
“12 Years a Slave” is a an excellent depiction of many African- Americans life during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Featuring an all star cast, Director Stephen McQueen, provides a raw, and to some unfavorable, reality of America’s dark, cruel history.