12 Years A Slave is the film adaption of the memoir of Solomon Northup. The film is set in the 1800s and is centered around the life of the free African American, Solomon Northup who was kidnapped into slavery and was forced to work in southern plantations for 12 years, hence the name. The film starts off with Northup already as a slave, working in a plantation with other enslaved African Americans. It then shifts to his life before the kidnapping when Solomon was a violinist with a wife and family in Saratoga, New York City in 1841. The plot of the movie truly begins when Northup is introduced to two white men, Brown and Hamilton. They propose a job in Washington D.C. where he can work as a violinist and they enjoy dinner where Brown and Hamilton drug Northup with wine. Suddenly, everything takes a turn for the worst when Northup awakes in chains and learns that the two men have kidnapped him into slavery. He tries to prove he is indeed a free man to a man named Burch, but he does not believe him as Northup does not have his papers and Burch eventually beats him violently. While him and other slaves are shipped to New Orleans, he is told that in order to survive, he must adjust to being a slave and to not show his abilities as a free man like reading and writing. Northup is given the name Platt and is sold to William Ford with Eliza. Soon, Northup is sold to Edwin Epps after he beats John Tibeats, even after attempting to explain his situation to Ford. The next half of the film is when he is moved to Epps’ plantation and the film introduces Patsey. Patsey picks the most cotton of the other slaves, which causes Epps’ to favor her and sexually abuse her. Due to this, Mistress Epps takes her anger out on her. After Epps’ cotton is invested with cotton worms, the slaves are moved temporarily to Judge Turner’s plantation where Northup is given an opportunity to play violin and allowed to collect his earnings. Northup and Armsby, a white worker at the plantation, make a deal; Armsby sends a letter to Northup’s family and Northup gives him his earnings. The deal is not fulfilled as Armsby tells Epps, but Northup lies to save his life and burns the letter. Patsey is whipped severely after getting soap from the Shaw’s and Northup breaks his violin. The film introduces Samuel Bass, who heavily opposes slavery. Northup tells Bass his situation and Bass agrees to send his letter, unlike Armsby. This plan works as Northup is rejoined with Mr. Parker, a shopkeeper from Saratoga and is free after 12 years. The movie ends with Northup reuniting with his family and leaving the other slaves at Epps’ plantation, specifically Patsey. The director, Steve McQueen and the producer, John Ridley made sure that the film’s audience understood how effective Solomon Northup’s narrative was on sharing the evils and horrors of slavery and how the lack of justice during the 1800s wronged him for 12 years. The director and producer have some biases placed during the production of the film as they are both African American, they are against slavery for obvious and moral reasons, and that they are both fans of Northup’s memoir and how he himself portrayed the most difficult time of his life. McQueen emphasizes his bias by adding scenes that are initially graphic like a scene where Epps sexually abuses Patsey or where Patsey is bleeding and in severe pain after being whipped by both Northup and Epps. Presenting and focusing on these horrific images demonstrates a more emotional impact and pushing the message to the audience: these events are not parts of fiction, they are events that were done to slaves and that their suffering is forever stuck in United States history. I would most definitely recommend this movie to another student for numerous reasons. The first reason is that it does a fantastic job on showing how the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, which provided for the return of escaped slaves to their owners, was sometimes misused for racist agendas. The epilogue of the film includes that Northup was not the only free African American that was kidnapped into slavery. There is also a scene when Burch tells Northup that he is a runaway from Georgia, not the free man he truly is. The second reason is that it does not sugarcoat slavery’s. The scene where the audience has a clear view on the aftermath of Patsey’s whipping and the overall extremity of it shows how even more inhumane slavery was. The only time I would tell another student to stay away from it is if they would be incredibly uncomfortable with some of the more graphic scenes as they are somewhat hard to watch.