Harriet Tubman was among one of the most significant abolitionists in United States history. This film tells the story of her life where she was born in Maryland as a plantation slave. Named Araminta at “Minty” Ross, she transforms throughout her journey, becoming Harriet Tubman as well as transforming into Moses, the appropriate name for the person who leads.
The story begins after church services where Minty’s husband John Tubman who was a free slave asks the plantation owner to allow Minty to be freed so their children would be born free instead of slaves. The slave owner, Henry Broadess (Mike Marunde played with a gleeful abundance of entitlement) denies the request. This is the spark where Araminta decides to run away to live as a free person.
Minty was known for her “spells” since the accident, where she was hit in the forehead by a thrown weight. The film interprets seizures as her conversation with God. The film uses these spells as her talks with and messages received from God. That is how Harriett’s visions are explained. That she has an ability to know where to go and what to from what she sees when she has an episode.
Harriet had saved herself from slavery. She made it to the State of Pennsylvania where she would be free. After a year or so, Harriet decided that she would not be able to rest comfortably as a “free slave” without her husband and her family. That is when she decided that she would go get her loved ones.
As we know from history, she saved her family and many others through the Underground Railroad. All her rescues were successful, totaling 70 that she brought to freedom. The Civil War began a few years later. We are shown Harriet, working with the Union Army to save the lives of about 700 slaves.
The film celebrates Harriet Tubman and provides a beautiful biographical film of this amazing woman. Cynthia Erivo should get a nomination or two come award season. Pssst, she already has a Tony from her performance of The Color Purple on Broadway and a Grammy. She is already halfway to an EGOT. The cast of the film is fantastic. Leslie Odom Jr. as William Still, the man who kept the records of each emancipated slave and provided new identities to help them. Then there is Janelle Monae, as Mary Buchanon, born a free woman. She was among the group that helped Harriet make a new life in Philadelphia.
The film tells a brave tale, but it glosses over the dark history of slavery. Yes, it is one of the dark chapters in humanity. The atrocities committed in the name of self-preservation are despicable. The creators of the movie could have provided a more realistic representation of a picture of slavery.
This film is very good. Ms. Erivo performs effortlessly as Harriet. The supporting cast are very good. Harriet Tubman was a hell of a woman back in the day. I liked the movie. I also would have liked to have slavery shown in stark reality, not coated in idealism.
3.8 out of 5