12 Years A Slave is a must-see

12 Years a Slave begins its haunting true story in 1841 when free man Solomon Northup, a carpenter and talented fiddle player, gets tricked into accepting a job. Solomon thinks he’s agreeing to a two-week gig as a fiddle player, but the men who offer him the job have something entirely different in mind. They drug Solomon and he wakes up in chains, on the verge of being sold into slavery. You’ll find yourself chained, too — chained to this riveting film that pulls no punches.
Solomon is shipped to New Orleans, renamed Platt and eventually (after many a beating) sold to plantation owner William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch). Solomon easily gets into Ford’s good graces, but unfortunately the same cannot be said for his experiences with boss Tibeats (Paul Dano) who torments Solomon until Solomon is driven to beat Tibeats senseless. His punishment? Tibeats means to hang Solomon, but is convinced to pause until Ford returns home. So while they wait, “Platt” hangs from the tree with his toes barely in contact with the ground, only enough to keep from dying. This scene is but a snippet of the truly horrific ordeals Solomon is forced to experience.
Solomon is quickly sold when Ford realizes it might not be safe for Solomon to remain in Tibeats’ presence. But his new situation on Edwin Epps’ plantation isn’t better. Epps is a drunk who is unable to come to terms with the fact that he is attracted to one of his slaves, Patsey, played by a luminous Lupita Nyong’o. He deals with his infatuation in a brutal and terrible way while his jealous wife inflicts other horrors on her.
Michael Fassbender stuns as Epps in without a doubt the best performance of his career, unearthing the soul within a monster. And though Solomon is forbidden to speak of his terrible situation, through Chiwetel Ejiofor’s mesmerizing performance the audience is never left to guess at his feelings.
This film, a favorite of critics, is absolutely one of the best of the year. Based on Solomon Northup’s memoir that was published in 1853, it has received universal acclaim and tells a powerful story that cuts a piece out of your soul. Many are shocked that the public is only just now learning of Northup’s harrowing experience, but because of this deeply moving film “Solomon Northup” will be a household name. Steve McQueen’s brilliant direction ensures that you share in Solomon’s wounds. And you’ll never truly heal.