We Saw “Twelve Years A Slave” and, Yeah, It Was Rough

November 11, 2013 § 4 Comments

“I tell myself I’m descended from the ones who didn’t die on the way over.”—One of my movie companions.

November 11, 2013

A group of us went to see “Twelve Years a Slave” Saturday evening. I brought a packet of Kleenex. I had been forewarned. The reviews. Other people’s comments. Plus, I finished the book on Saturday afternoon, so I knew what I was in for.

Sunday morning sun through trees. O blessed, beautiful morning.

Sunday morning sun through trees. O blessed, beautiful morning.

Seems like there is one in every theater. The guy who comments loudly like he’s sitting in his own living room. After a certain point in the movie, though, even that guy shut up.

Many times, I could hear the audience breathing. Slowly and deeply to soothe themselves. Sighing to expel anxiety. Gasping in horror. It grew really warm in that theater.

After the movie was over, my friend Martha fled with a tear-streaked face before I could offer her a tissue.

Many were so emotionally drained they just wanted to go home to bed.

The gang after seeing the movie "Twelve Years A Slave."

The gang after seeing the movie “Twelve Years A Slave.”

I was one of the four who made it across the theater parking lot to a nearby restaurant for drinks and eats. I am so glad we did (even though the Margarita I ordered tasted like crap) because we toasted our ancestors and got to really talk.

About how movies like this should be required viewing in the schools so that maybe people will think again before dressing up like Klan members and a lynching victim for Halloween.

About how strong and resilient our slave forebears were, and how proud we are to be their descendants.

About what happened to Patsey.

This quote from the book beautifully describes her:

“Such lightning-like motion was in her fingers as no other fingers ever possessed, and therefore it was, that in cotton picking time, Patsey was queen of the field.

She had a genial and pleasant temper, and was faithful and obedient. Naturally, she was a joyous creature, a laughing, light-hearted girl, rejoicing in the mere sense of existence.”


Because of her spirit and grace, and because of how she was doubly punished for that, I remind myself to stand tall with back straight and chin lifted.

For Patsey.

Who else braved this movie over the weekend?

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