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12 Years a Slave (2013)
A review from someone who read the "12 Years A Slave" narrative
I have seen both versions of this story committed to film. The 1984 version was directed by the great Gordon Parks (if you don't know who that is look him up). This film is beautiful, I have to say that from the very beginning; the footage of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana is gorgeous. The thing about this story isn't that is unique, what is unique is Solomon Northup enduring bondage for 12 years without becoming bitter. There are moments in this film when you cringe, I literally flinched in moments; the moments when I cried weren't as numerous as I thought. However the thing that is conveyed to the view is the strength of spirit that slaves had to endure in order to live, not just survive but live. There is a scene where Solomon is talking to Eliza about her open mourning for her children, when they start arguing about how best to survive this situation, Solomon yells at her "I will stay hardy until freedom is opportune." There are so many moments in this movie when I was just in awe of how they took this narrative and translated it into pictures, a narrative that doesn't require much imagination to bring you back to the mid-1800s and how it was to be on a plantation in Louisiana. Patsy, a slave who is her master's prized cotton picker, 500+ lbs of cotton a day, the master's relationship with her is to caress her with one hand and beat her with the other. Lupita Nyong, as Patsey, is so beautiful it broke my heart, when Master Epps is describe her as "queen of the fields",she turns away from him and for a moment, I saw the beauty of all those women who were stolen away from Africa, her profile was so classic. This movie had a conversation that was "for movie purposes" but Master Shaw, a neighboring planter has a 'kept' slave woman, played by Alfre Woodard, she entertains Patsey, though Master Epps is worried that Shaw will touch Patsey. Mistress Shaw, tells Patsey, in a calm but sober voice that I can only say gave me chills "In His own time the good Lord will manage them all". Master Epps wife, hates Patsey and refuses her the basic necessity, like soap for which Patsey takes a savage beating. Steve McQueen took this narrative that I have loved since I was in junior high school and managed to produce a piece of art from it. The funeral scene, where what I grew calling an "old church mother" sings "Roll Jordon Roll"; which she pronounces 'Jerden', brought me back to Sundays in church, and I found myself singing with her in my heart. Finally, I wanted speak to the actual narrative and the man that Northup seemed to be in his narrative, he seemed a humble man, a kind man and that come through in this production. There is a scene toward the end of the film when Chiwetel Ejiofor looks into the camera, breaking that 'fourth wall' and all I could see was Solomon Northup staring at me across 160 years and I cried for him. Solomon's fate was lost to history, no one knows what became of him but I pray his last wish was granted.
The Story of Ruth (1960)
Not Literally Biblical...but the point comes across
I have loved this movie for a long time, it was something that I saw when I was young and just loved. The story of Ruth and Naomi is one that my mother always said was a great example of what love really is. Ruth leaves behind all her life in Moab to follow Naomi to a country and a people that she knows perhaps little or nothing about.
I have seen that some people review or make comments about it not being 'biblical' and I think that it doesn't detract from the point that the movie brings across. Sometimes people want to make the heroes and heroines of the Bible too holy, they were people, struggling with life as we do now. The faith of Ruth and the love that she and Naomi share is so apparent in this movie.
This movie takes license with where Ruth comes from, having her sold in childhood to the local religion that sacrifices children every year to their god. There is nothing to state where Ruth came from in the Bible only that she was married to Mahlon and that he and his father and brother died.
This movie is so beautiful and well filmed, Elena Eden, is so beautiful as Ruth and Peggy Wood as Naomi. The movie, I have always found after it's first 45 minutes, seems to revolve around these two women. Naomi's protective love of Ruth and vice versa, their loyalty to each other and how the bitterness of Naomi's loss is healed by the things that happen to the both of them.
The story is slightly changed, but the story has the point of who Ruth is, a woman who was born worshiping a foreign god and who came to understand and love Jehovah.
It is a great movie and I have always thought that if nothing else is accurate about it, the fact that placing your faith in God will always be rewarded.
Also, when Naomi prays for Ruth, it is probably one of the most beautiful and selfless prayers ever. It is the kind of prayer that a Mother prays for her daughter, it always give me chills to hear it. My dearly departed mother, prayed for me like that once and I am still reaping the blessings to this day.
The Clinic (2010)
Random Horror Movies on Friday Nights
On the weekend, I will shuffle through On Demand looking for a good, well decent horror movie. While I don't think that "The Clinic" falls perfectly into that category, it does fall into the suspense genre, without a doubt. You have Beth and her boyfriend driving to her Mom's for Christmas, a big truck almost runs them over and then they decide to stay at a hotel for the night and head out in the morning. Add creepy hotel manager, mix in no gas in the car and you have the premise for a really good suspense movie. Beth is kidnapped while her boyfriend goes in search of Chinese food and then the mayhem commences. This movie was very good for what it is, the details to the story are all around if you are willing to pay attention. So it was a good choice for my random Friday horror selection. I wasn't satisfied completely with the ending so that is why it's 8 out of 10.