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12 Years a Slave (2013) Poster

Goofs

Jump to: Anachronisms (6) | Audio/visual unsynchronised (1) | Continuity (2) | Spoilers (3)

Anachronisms 

When "Platt" is explaining how to bring the logs down the river, the overseer scornfully asks him where he became an expert in engineering and "terraforming." This a word coined by science fiction author Jack Williamson in 1942, almost exactly 100 years after the scene takes place.
When Solomon Northup was playing the violin in the early scenes, the violin strings were made from synthetic material. The material at the time would have been catgut.
There are water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), an invasive aquatic plant native to South America, floating in the swamp. Water hyacinth were not introduced to North America until 1884, when they were exhibited (and subsequently released) during the World's Fair in New Orleans' Audubon Park.
In the opening shots, a violin is being played and tuned. The light passes completely through the strings revealing they are not made of any natural product or twining, but plastic or nylon.
When Solomon is being sold to Master Ford, the two nude women in the background both have shaved pubic hair, something virtually impossible in the 1840s.
Several times during the movie horses are seen wearing bridles with a 'flash' attachment on the nose-band. This type of attachment wasn't invented until the 1960s.

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

Platt's fiddling for the forced merriment, does not synchronize with the fiddle sound.

Continuity 

After Epps has been wallowing through the pig pen, in the next shot his clothes are clean with no evidence that he had fallen.
When Soloman is drinking wine with the Hamilton and Brown, Hamilton drinks all of his glass and then tops off Soloman's. In the next shot Hamilton's glass is half-filled and they have a toast.

Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

After Platt is left hanging by his neck, barely standing on his toes, for about 5 minutes, for the rest of the movie he has no scarring on his neck.
Solomon remains well coiffured and clean-shaven throughout. After his ordeal he returns to his family looking more or less the same with no gray hairs but apologizes for his appearance.

Revealing mistakes 

When Platt is left hanging by his neck, you can see the shadows of the trees but there is no shadow of Platt.

See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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