Movie Review: Harriet


The definition of empathy from Dictionary.com: The psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

Regardless of anyone remembering the story of Harriet Tubman from high school history, everyone owes it to themselves to see the new movie “Harriet”. Finally realizing the full story of Harriet Tubman will give everyone even more appreciation to what this great woman did to save so many people from slavery.

What was so great about Harriet Tubman was her empathy for other people. Once she escaped slavery herself to the city of Philadelphia, a miracle in itself, Tubman returned many times to save other slaves without regard for her own safety. In the end she saved 70 other slaves and some years later, actually led a battle in the Civil War that rescued an additional 750 slaves – an amazing story that I never knew about.

As with every movie about the horrendous and cruel world of pre-Civil War slavery, watching many of the scenes in this film will make any normal person’s skin crawl, with the constant use of the N word, and the endless cruelty of the slave owners towards human beings that they believe are their property. The best line in this movie from Harriet Tubman is “No person should ever own another person”. This one sentence could be considered the entire reason for the Civil War.

The acting in this movie is outstanding, starting with Cynthia Erivo, who plays Harriet Tubman, who was known as Minty when she was a slave. The rest of the cast are mostly unknown actors, with the exception of Janelle Monáe who plays a free black woman who lives in Philadelphia and provides a great contrast between herself Harriet Tubman after she escaped from slavery.

Harriet has solid critical numbers, including 72% from Rotten Tomatoes and my rating is about 80% due to the very well told story about an important part of American History. I recommend Harriet.

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