By Terri Lee Sylvester

DETROIT (WWJ) – “12 Years A Slave” is a very poignant look at one man’s life after he is unjustly sold into slavery. And one thing this movie is sure to do is spark conversation.

The film is based on a true story that unfolded in the pre-Civil War United States. It follows Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiopor), a free black man from upstate New York, who travels from his home in Syracuse to Washington, DC, which is where his life begins to change forever.

After Northup is forced into slavery, his world becomes a living nightmare. He and the other slaves on the plantations he’s transported to and between are mentally abused, beaten and tortured on a regular basis. One female slave, the supposed favorite of one plantation owner, suffers abuse at the hands of the owner and his vicious wife that is simply unimaginable.

After watching “12 Years A Slave” and learning about Northup’s story (based on a book he wrote after finally gaining his freedom), I wouldn’t be surprised if history teachers decided to include Northup’s incredible story in discussions along with those about Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and other more well-known abolitionists.

“12 Years A Slave” will conjure up a wide range of emotions: it’ll make you angry, it’ll make you sad, and it may — probably will — even make you cry. But one thing I really hope it does: help to make the world a better place, perhaps by sparking the start of conversations that ultimately lead to changes in people’s treatment of one another.

In addition to Ejiopor, “12 Years A Slave” stars Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt. Directed by Steven McQueen. Rated R.

See you at the movies!

Follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJLee


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