“12 Years a Slave” is a Disgusting Glorification of Slave Ownership

by Alex Bartholomew 

Those walking into “12 Years a Slave” expecting a rough, emotional examination of the horrors of slavery will undoubtably be disappointed: the film in fact glorifies slavery and slave-ownership, holding up violent slave owners like Edwin Epps (played by Michael Fassbender) as idols for the next generation, sure to grace posters on the walls of college freshman eager to begin a career in sociopathic human trafficking.

Indeed, “12 Years a Slave” is a film that spends its runtime depicting in detail the life of the rich, entitled slave owners of the American antebellum south, yet fails to condone their lifestyle.

The slave owners don’t face severe enough consequences, and so we are left with a film that glorifies the inhumanity of slavery. Characters played by Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, and others are left unscathed.

The movie completely glosses over the consequences these slave owners surely had for their part in this horrible story.

Indeed, I fully expect younger moviegoers to idolize Mr. Fassbender’s portrayal of Edwin Epps, a character that uses his power to inflict cruelty on others and yet pays no price for it.

To be sure, you could argue that there weren’t any actual consequences for the historical slave owners; however, the truth is that Mr. McQueen is making a film, not a documentary.

He should have avoided this kind of disgusting glorification by creating actual consequences for his evil characters; otherwise, how will viewers understand that what they are watching is wrong? God knows that we, the audience, are incapable of thinking for ourselves.

Do not believe the hype: like Martin Scorcese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street”, “12 Years a Slave” is a horribly immoral film that glorifies the evils of society by stubbornly sticking to the historical facts. And don’t even get me started on its female characters.

Author Bio: Alex Bartholomew is a junior triple-majoring in Critical Studies, Narrative Studies, and Philosophy, Politics, and Law.