Twelve Years a Slave is a drama based on the memoir of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Washington, D.C. in 1841, and spent the next 12 years in captivity on a Louisiana cotton plantation.
Steve McQueen directed the film from a script he wrote with John Ridley. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Northup, and Garret plays Armsby, a fellow field hand who works alongside him.
Also in the film: Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard, Dwight Henry, Michael Kenneth Williams, Adepero Oduye, Quvenzhané Wallis, Scoot McNairy, Ruth Negga, Taran Killam, Marcus Lyle Brown, and Brad Pitt.
Twelve Years a Slave will premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival in September, and hit theatres in the U.S. in a limited release on October 18, 2013.
Based on a true story, 12 YEARS A SLAVE is a riveting account of a free black man kidnapped from New York and sold into brutal slavery in mid-1850s Louisiana, and the inspiring story of his desperate struggle to return home to his family.
SOLOMON NORTHUP (Chiwetel Ejiofor), an educated black man with a gift for music, lives with his wife and children in Saratoga, New York.
One day, when his family is out of town, he is approached by two men claiming to be circus promoters. Solomon agrees to travel with them briefly, playing the fiddle while they perform. But after sharing a drink with the men, he awakens to find he has been drugged and bound and faces a horrifying reality: he is being shipped to the South as a slave.
No one listens to Solomon’s claim that he has papers proving his status as a free man. Despairing, he plots his escape, only to be foiled at every turn. He is sold to WILLIAM FORD (Benedict Cumberbatch), a kindly mill owner who appreciates Solomon’s thoughtful nature. But Ford is forced to sell him to a cruel master who subjects him and other slaves to unspeakable brutality.
For years, Solomon nurtures his dreams of returning home. He stashes slips of stolen paper in his fiddle and develops a natural ink with which to write a letter.
But when his greatest efforts come to nothing, he realizes just how trapped he is. Even if he could write the letter without being caught, where would he send it? Whom could he trust to deliver it? And will he even survive long enough to be rescued?
Refusing to abandon hope, Solomon watches helplessly as those around him succumb to violence, crushing emotional abuse and hopelessness. He realizes that he will have to take incredible risks, and depend on the most unlikely people, if he is ever to regain his freedom and be reunited with his family.
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