Review: Harriet

A walk to freedom.

Minty (Cynthia Erivo) is a woman who escapes slavery and becomes the hero we know her as today: Harriet Tubman. We follow her as she works with William Still (Leslie Odom Jr.) and the Underground Railroad to continue to free slaves and evade her former master - Gideon (Joe Alwyn) who is hellbent on thwarting her plans. 

The world deserves a Harriet Tubman biopic and I'm glad director Kasi Lemmons got to bring us one. They play it very safe, but it's here and that's what matters most. Calling Harriet and what she accomplished extraordinary isn't enough. The film condenses it and makes good use of it's 2 hour run time. It never drags and even though you know the outcome of her story, there are plenty of tense moments throughout.

Cynthia Erivo (who was robbed of an Oscar nomination for Bad Times at the El Royale last year) is a fantastic Harriet. She nails every scene. We see her at her most vulnerable to her most stoic. She also puts her lovely singing voice to good use here as well. The cast supporting her are wonderful as well. I really enjoyed Odom Jr and I'm always happy to see Clarke Peters and Janelle Monae.

The biggest fault in my opinion are how they chose to handle Harriet's "spells" We know she had seizures in real life but here are re-worked into full scale premonitions. They show her the future and help her evade capture several times. She even prays for someone to die, and they do in the next scene. While I don't think Harriet's faith in the lord should be discarded completely, they made it phony with how heavy handed they played it.

Even if it's safe or formulaic, Harriet is still far better than many of the other biopics out there getting similar criticisms. I don't think that should stop you from seeing it.

Now they just need to put her on our U.S currency like they promised.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "You will call me Harriet, that's my free name." - Harriet Tubman (Cynthia Erivo)

8 comments:

  1. thanks for the review! this is on my must see for the year, though I wasn't sure how "Hollywood" they were going to make the film. I'm such a fan of Erivo. I can't wait to see her on The Outsider.

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    1. She's amazing, I'll watch her in anything now. I hope you get to see this and like it!

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  2. I'll wait for it on TV. I like Cynthia Erivo as she is just incredible as it is a shame that the film plays it safe but I just hope it's not too safe.

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    1. I don't think it's *too* safe. The actors do really well so that helps.

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  3. I didn't realise it was Cynthia Erivo at first - she was incredible in El Royale <3
    This is a new movie to me and I shamefully know nothing about Harriet so this is going to be a must watch.

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  4. Just posted my review of this. You liked it a bit better than I, but our issue is the same - her superpowers.

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    1. Yes! I saw someone joke that if she were in the X-men Universe, Charles Xavier would be knocking on her door. That's the truth.

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