As you undoubtedly are aware, this year’s winner of the Oscar’s Best Picture Award was “12 Years A Slave.” The film, based on the real life of Solomon Northrup, has been discussed widely, and may be remembered as several other films dealing with the antebellum south, such as “Birth of A Nation,” and Gone With the Wind;” but the latter two are fiction. Two other films from the recent past are significant historic films as well: “Glory,” and Lincoln.” For this assignment, you will be asked to write your own critical review of one of the following films: “12 Years A Slave;” Glory,” and Lincoln.”
1. Watch the film, and while doing so, ask yourself: Who is telling the story? And, whose story is being told?
Think of yourself as viewing the film through the eyes of a historian, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the film in terms of historical content? How does that content comport with what you have learned about African American history, and has that experience, in turn, changed anything about the way you see the film?
2. After viewing the film, consider the following:
In what ways does this historical film illuminate or obscure issues such as class, race, gender, ethnicity, culture, and national origin or region? For example, why do you think Lupita Nyong’o became the “breakout actor” for the “12 Years,” and what is her impact on skin color and notions of beauty, style, and fashion?
3. Read a newspaper review of the film in the New York Times, and one other newspaper or journal. Evaluate the review in terms of whether you agree or disagree with the analysis and why. Be sure to properly cite the review and include a link to the original.
4. Write your own review of the film in the style of the professional ones you’ve read from newspapers or journals.
A. Begin by providing the basic facts of the film; then briefly summarize the plot
B. Write your on critique of the film, and include responses to the questions from above.