So by now you kinda sense a pattern when my favorite films come out and usually it’s just me being dramatic when I get so overcome by a film and I just want to throw them every award until the end of time.
BUT THIS MOVIE THOUGH.
When Jonny and I walked out of the theater, the appropriate reaction was obviously to stagger against the wall clutching our hearts whilst shaking our heads overcome with emotion.
Side note: We’re both really really dramatic.
Double side note: Jonny is one of my best friends from home and he just started at Harvard Law cause he’s super smart and awesome and he’s my movie buddy aka the only person that ever beats me in the Oscar Prediction game and we go see at least one movie every week so you’ll see his name a lot in upcoming posts probably okay that’s all.
Where were we?
Oh yeah THIS MOVIE THOUGH.
I definitely knew that the Oscar race would ultimately come down between Gravity and 12 Years A Slave but I wasn’t expecting the latter to completely take my breath away.
Why is it so different than other historical/slavery movies?
Because not once did they make Solomon the hero. He doesn’t do the “right thing,” he doesn’t rise above the situation, he doesn’t win the hearts of the white folk, he doesn’t use his charm and skill to survive. He brutally and demoralizingly deals with circumstances, he gets beat and loses hope and he does nothing to make us think things will be better in the end.
And that’s the kicker: the movie does not make it better in the end. My main problem with Lee Daniels’ The Butler was how they ended the film with Obama’s election. Sure this type of ending eases the viewer’s guilt and uncomfortableness after watching such a strong movie about racial issues, BUT THAT IS NOT THE POINT. Racism is still alive and well in this country and attempting to make it seem like things are a-okay isn’t fooling anyone who still experiences it.
12 Years A Slave ends on an ambiguous note. We never find out what happens to Solomon after he reunites with his family. And it doesn’t try to deliver justice to his kidnappers or the slave-masters. It is a harrowing depiction of the hard truth. It’s extremely difficult to watch, but it deserves every person’s attention.
It’s a brilliantly executed, written, and directed film. But what really puts it over the top is no doubt Chiwetel Ejiofor’s performance. There’s not much to say about it other than if he doesn’t win Best Actor, I will be extremely shocked.
It is an insanely crowded year for movies and in a way, I almost wish either Gravity or 12 Years A Slave had been pushed back. The thing is Gravity still remains on a completely different level from anything I have seen this year. It should have an entire awards ceremony all on its own and give other movies a chance. If Gravity wasn’t in the picture, 12 Years A Slave would win everything and every other movie can just go home.
Unfortunately, it’s going to be a tight race and I already have premature nerves at what’s going to happen. It’s worth noting how in recent years the Best Picture always comes down to an expensive 3-D critical hit that blows everyone away with its visuals and production versus a smaller film that offers a deep and introspective look at some point in history (Life of Pi versus Argo; Avatar versus The Hurt Locker). History tends to win every time but then again… there has never been anything like Gravity before.
Ahhh! I’m excited just thinking about it.
Anyway, bottom line: go watch 12 Years A Slave.
You owe it to history.
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