12 Years a Slave movie paired with African-American inspired food

Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender & Benedict Cumberbatch

Rating 9/10

Plot in a flash:

– Free man, Solomon Northup (Ejiofor) is kidnapped and forced into slavery. He’s desperate to get back to his wife and two children back in New York but is taken down South, ending up on a few different plantations over 12 years.
– He’s different from the other slaves, trying to hide his skills on the fiddle and his ability to read/write.
– His first ‘boss’ is William Ford (Cumberbatch) who treats him pretty well but ultimately he’s forced off the plantation by bad managers. Then he goes to Edwin Epps’ (Fassbender) farm – a drunk and a pretty poor excuse for a man, really.
– After a few years and a few harrowing experiences with other fellow slaves, he meets a builder called Bass (Brad Pitt) who opens up the possibility to contact his beloved family.

Review in a flash:

Wow, wow, wow! You can really tell this film is in a totally different sphere to most other movies. It’s a sad, soulful tale beautifully told. From one of the first scenes where we’re taken through the fields to reveal a group of slaves working in a clearing.

The whole film is filmed in this way, taking its time so that the audience can absorb what they’re seeing and experiencing. But it’s not a boring, long movie, it’s mesmorising. The saddest thing is that these experiences actually happened. How horrific! They actually reminded me of the concentration camps in Germany. The violence, the feeling of helplessness, the injustice of it all.

I loved Ejiofor’s performance of Solomon and Oscar winner, Lupita Nyong’o’s depiction of Patsey was inspiring although very short-lived. It’s an incredible cast with a very creative, clever director, telling a rich but difficult story that will leave you wiser  and more compassionate – well it did for me anyway. Be brave and see it for yourself. It’s worth it!

Dinner:

Apparently our first dish had its roots in West Africa and was brought to America by those poor slaves like our Solomon. So it’s an apt dish for this very sad, moving movie. I’m sure it brought a little comfort to those suffering under horrific conditions on farms and plantations across the South. It’s Hoppin’ John from Spicie Foodie.

12 Years a Slave trivia:

  • Budget – $20 million
  • Apparently Director Steve McQueen and Screenwriter, John Ridley had a bit of a tiff over the screenwriting credit with McQueen suggesting they share the nod (note: they didn’t thank each other in their Oscar speeches).
  • Filmed mostly in and around New Orleans in only 35 days
  • According to a few history ‘brains’, the film is pretty historically accurate
  • Fassbender asked for his moustache to smell like alcohol so that everyone on set would believe he really was an alcoholic.
  • A tree used for the lynching scene in the movie was used for actual lynchings back in the day.
  • Solomon was bought for $1000 or $27,000 in modern money terms. Wowsie!
  • The film was based on Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir
  • This is the first film from a black director to win Best Picture!
  • Fassbender fainted after filming a particularly harrowing scene.

Dessert:

This sweet recipe was inspired by Solomon (where he tries to write a letter using blackberries for ink). Oh and I really love blackberries. It’s Blackberry Honey Creams from BBC Good Food.

Have you been brave enough to see this film? Whaddya think?

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