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Let's Mentally Prepare For Steve McQueen's '12 Years A Slave'

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Oct 09, 2013 | 6:00pm EDT

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Talk about Oscar buzz! Critically-acclaimed director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave is getting ready to hit theatres at the end of the month and there’s plenty to get excited about. The trailer looks amazing and the movie received much hype as it made its way around the festival circuit; it even won The Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. If you don’t know how to mentally prepare yourself for what will surely be one of the biggest films of the year, we’re here to help. Here are a few reasons why there’s no other movie to see on October 31.

The Cast

This film has something for everyone: Benedict Cumberbatch fans are going wild, and that’s only the beginning. Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Oscar-nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, and Michael K. Williams of The Wire are all on board. 12 Years A Slave also stars the amazing Chiwetel Ojiofor (who may finally get his due as one of the best) as Solomon Northrup.

 The True Story

We should all know the name of Solomon Northrup as well as we know the name of Frederick Douglass or Benjamin Franklin. His memoir 12 Years A Slave isn’t being taught in most grade schools yet, but maybe McQueen’s film can change that. A free-born black man from New York born before the Civil War, Northrup was offered a fake job, drugged, and sold into slavery. After 12 years he did the impossible and regained his freedom; such an amazing story of triumph and tragedy in America truly deserves to be told. 

The Steve McQueen Factor

No offense to other directors who might have taken on such a story (like Steven Spielberg or Spike Lee), but really? Steve McQueen is probably the best guy for the job. His subtle, sweeping approach to powerful stories with compelling characters (as seen in his other films, Hunger and the unforgettable 2011 indie hit Shame), gives us all the faith in this production.

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