This film will make you squirm in your seat. I nearly walked out about 5 times.
Based on a true story, the movie is a head-on-collision with the evils of racism and slavery. There were numerous scenes where I had to cover my eyes to enable me to remain in the theater.
Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a free man living in Saratoga with his wife and two children. He is an excellent violinist. While she is away on a trip with the children, he gets a financially lucrative offer from two white men, to play the violin for a few days, with a travelling circus. This turns out to be a ruse. They take him to Washington DC, drug him , kidnap him to Virginia and then sell him into slavery.
Most of the time he is a slave on a cotton plantation owned by Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) who is a sadistic son of a bitch.
You will see multiple whippings (including one of a woman), multiple beatings, a rape, and a lynching. Solomon was somehow able to survive for 12 years but I don’t know how he made it.
He only escapes because he has the good fortune to meet a decent Canadian who is working on the plantation (Bass-Brad Pitt) who arranges for his rescue. (Apparently, this was a fairly common situation but most of the kidnapped victims were never freed.)
The acting is excellent (Director-Steve McQueen) as is the screenplay (McQueen and John Ridley.)
It is on every critic’s best 10 list and is an AW caliber movie but you need to be prepared for what you will witness. I can’t say I enjoyed the film but it is an intense emotional experience.