“Harriet” Movie Review

A movie poster for the new film Harriet, out in theaters now. Via IMDb.

A movie poster for the new film Harriet, out in theaters now. Via IMDb.

Akasha Brahmbhatt, Webmaster

With a 97 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, the new Harriet Tubman movie, Harriet,  is the story of young Harriet Tubman, her life in slavery and how she escaped. Cynthia Erivo, who plays Tubman, brings a new light to this historical figure, giving the audience both the authentic essence and the parts of Tubman’s life that were enormous factors for her escape. This film focuses on her freedom. The film starts off before she escapes, which gives the audience a deeper understanding of her life in slavery, then follows the incredibly dangerous yet inspiring journey Tubman takes to freedom, expanding on her reasoning for why she joined the Underground Railroad in the first place. 

As a student who has been hoping to learn more about Harriet Tubman, I found this movie not only a cinematic masterpiece but also a resource that high school students should use. I learned a lot about Tubman’s personal life before she escaped slavery, and this gave me a new perspective on her life. I gained more respect for her, if that is even possible, by watching this film; watching her escape once by herself and then return to save so many lives gave me a whole new perspective on the intense journey she went on.

As far as the acting goes, every person in this film clearly had so much passion for the storyline and the characters they were portraying. To depict the lives of real people, especially ones such as Harriet Tubman, takes a lot of focus and dedication to represent history accurately. The costumes were extremely realistic and era-appropriate, contributing to the relationship between the audience and the storyline. The set of this movie had beautiful scenery, which showed the treacherous landscape Tubman had to deal with throughout her journey. The deep and fast rivers, low hanging branches from trees and open wide fields gave the audience a first-hand experience of the danger Tubman had to go through, especially while she was being chased by her ‘owners’ she was escaping from. Paired with the film came beautiful music, including songs sung by Erivo herself, representing the songs sung by Tubman to other slaves of a sign of her arrival.

I would encourage everyone to watch and learn from this fantastic story about this powerful and inspiring woman.