12 Years A Slave: A Letter to the World

Dear America,

Tonight, I attended a showing of 12 Years A Slave with fellow writers Andrew and Alex, as well as Alex’s wife.

There are absolutely no words to describe this film, other than it is an utter masterpiece, and possibly the hardest piece of cinema I’ve ever encountered.

Every citizen should see this film. It transcends the petty notions of awards season, the previous depictions of slavery, and other such documentations of American history.

We all struggled to encapsulate exactly how we felt after viewing the film. All I can say is to bring a towel, because Kleenex will not cut it.

This should be mandatory viewing for every American citizen. For every human being.

It is because of it’s unflinching nature and brutal depictions of history that every living, breathing human should see this film. Some might be scared by its graphic nature, or its harrowing documentation of what humans are capable of in their darkest moments. It is because of these very truths that you and every one you know should find the nearest screening of this film and see it.

You will not look at things the same after watching this. I guarantee this.

We debated who should write the review/critique of this film after we left the theatre. In the days to come, as we come to grips with what we saw in the film, we might offer commentary upon the powerful imagery of the film, which again, I stress is some of the most powerful images I’ve seen in my years of film study. For the time being, this must suffice.

There are no other words.

Yours truly,


Travis J. Cook

Travis J. Cook is the Editor-in-Chief and one of the original founders of the Addison Recorder. He writes about baseball, movies, and music, among other topics. He resides in a hole in the ground near Wrigley Field.

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