Film Review Of Three Movies Concerning Black Rights Movie Review Samples
1. Solomon Northrup is betrayed as an uncommon character for the time period employed. While he became a slave, he never developed the mentality of a slave. After a difficult period of adjustment, he was able to give the outward appearance of that behavior, but he always maintained his individuality and self-motivation to achieve. When the slave girl, Patsey, begs Northrup to kill her, his refusal and subsequent support of her demonstrates his ability to give her hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.
Throughout his ordeal, Northrup remained fixed on his ambition to return to his family. While he has a career and ambitions more commonly seen in the white men of that era, his sole occupation throughout his ordeal was to return to his wife and children. There is no indication that he is aware they will not be the same people there were when he left. Therefore, the chock of his daughter grown with a husband and child did not seem to have occurred to him. But although there appeared to be initial discomfort in bringing a man into the family so long absent, the feeling evoked by that scene is that he was able to step into his role as husband, father, and grandfather without minimum difficult.
2. There were several elements to Northrup’s character that allowed him to survive his ordeal. Originally, it was difficult for him to accept that the kidnapping and slavery could happen to him, a free black man from the North (New York). He couldn’t understand why the people surrounding him would not assist him in returning home. But his consistent goal of returning to him family motivated him to do what was needed to continue to look for release. He did not appear to contemplate running away. Perhaps his education gave him a realization of the futility and danger in doing so. But Northrup continued to have the hope during all 12 years of his slavery that there would be a man who would help him. He was betrayed by Armsby, who took his money to mail a letter and betrayed him to his owner. But Bass, a Canadian carpenter, proved to be his salvation and arranged to set the events in motion for Northrup’s release.
3. In the movie “Glory”, the character Trip develops into one of the major heroic figures in the film. Entering the movie as an escaped slave, he immediately gets into a dispute with two of the other men in the unit. When Trip leaves without permission to replace his shoes, his action not only brings attention to his mistreatment as a slave (the discovery of his scars) but also makes the Captain realize the black men are not being supplied adequately. Captain Shaw also becomes an advocate for equal pay for the men, showing solidarity by tearing up his pay voucher with them in protest. Trip is wounded and saved by one of the other black men during a battle, but refuses to leave the combat area in order to heal. Trip is offered the honor of carrying the regimental flag, but he declines; although he feels the efforts they are making are futile, he continues to participate in the conflict out of hope they will succeed. Before the coming battle, Trip gives a speech praying for God’s help in their efforts. At the conclusion of the film, Trip carries the flag after Captain Shaw is killed and is mortally wounded himself. He is buried beside the man he has come to respect.
The Trip character comes into the film as a troublemaker, in conflict with the other men in the unit. His previous experiences in slavery made his skeptical of success for their involvement in the war. Trip slowly earns the respect of the other men, particularly the Captain. However, he keeps his distance from the growing respect for him by the others. His true feelings emerge during the religious service when he shows his true support for the cause, as hopeless to him as it seems. In the end, he gives his life to hold up the flag, the symbol of their bravery and unity.
4. “Selma” addresses the civil rights movement in 1965 in the city of Selma, Alabama. A bomb kills four girls in a church, an action reflecting the violent attitude toward black people asserting their rights as American citizens to vote. While the children were not actively involved in a protest or a march, their deaths were a by-product of the strife between the two races. There is also a scene where Jimmy Jackson is seated in a restaurant with his family when policemen burst into the café and confront him. He is subsequently killed for the reason of being a black man.
For those too young to remember the conflict during this time, “Selma” can seem unrealistic in its brutality. The unprovoked violence seems too improbable in a society that seems to have accepted different races living together. But current racial conflict following the deaths of young black men in urban areas brings back the memories of a time when blacks and whites lived with the constant threat of fighting.5. My feeling is that “12 Years a Slave” will stand the test of time as a statement of the attitude toward black people during that time. The treatment of the slaves was only a reflection of a period when Africans were only considered to be animals. The characters were rich and complete, evoking the emotions in the viewer that were not left to interpretation. In terms of the appearance of the film, the costumes were wonderful and the set directions superlative. While “Glory” and “Selma” are impressive films, “12 Years a Slave” is, in my opinion, the best of the three movies.
Comparing the treatment of black people in the three movies is interesting in the differences. In “12 Years a Slave”, animals were treated better than slaves even though they were a valuable asset for labor. The sexual treatment of the women and how they were separated from their children without regard to the feelings of the mother and children indicates an almost complete lack of feeling for them. It is difficult for a viewer today to relate to this. There were some instances where mercy was shown, but it was rare. Glory was completely different, and depicted men who were newly recognized as men and not animals. They acted on their own accords and realized they were not being treated fairly; however, they lacked the drive to fight against the prejudice. They were involved more with staying alive than in recognition of their right to equality. In “Selma”, right to equality was the entire focus of the movie. Blacks were perceived less as individuals than as a group. The white people also were grouped together in an “us” against “them” feeling. Individuals stood out as characters, but the concept of black rights overshadowed the people that comprised the movement.
Another powerful aspect of all three movies is that they are based on real events. It can be simple to dismiss human abuse and lack of understanding in a film one knows is fiction. But when the viewer knows the events shown on the screen are a dramatization of actual situation, it brings home much more dramatically the impact of the emotions being shown.
Black people have struggled to find a place in American society. It was easier for find acceptance in other countries, such as France and England, for some reason. Perhaps it was because of the history of slavery in this country. Blacks had to overcome the white man’s mentality of inferiority in order to attempt equality. Even today, blacks are required to fit the standard of a white man in most instances rather than retain their own identity. As the two races blend their gene pool, it is also becoming harder to classify a person as “black” or “white”. This fact may signal an end to the delineation between the races and end the conflict.
But maybe not.