4-star review: Spellbinding '12 Years a Slave' so raw, so real

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Posted: Friday, November 8, 2013 12:00 am

If you were around in 1977, you remember the impact the television miniseries “Roots” had on the national psyche. Millions sat transfixed as the history of American slavery was spelled out in all its awfulness, told mostly through the eyes of a single slave and his family.

That's what “12 Years a Slave” aspires to do on the big screen, and succeeds at the highest level of craft and artistry. It's at least 1977 since we've had a depiction this raw and real of what slavery was like, told from a black man's point of view.

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