(SPOILER WARNING!!! This article does contain spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie, just see the first paragraph to be informed without spoilers!!!)
The Birth of a Nation may seem like a typical story, but the artful uniqueness made this film about a brief moment in history into something big with powerful moments!!!
Rating: 4 Stars
Probably one of the most powerful moments in history is the time of slavery. Almost every movie about this historical subject creates a powerful image of how horrific slavery was in the US, and how it truly was a dark time where a race was brutally mistreated. Even though it is not a movie, I remember how impactful the TV miniseries Roots was, and how iconic it was giving people a visual for how awful it was. There were many other movies that are powerful, or at the very least impactful. Such as Amistad, Oscar winning movie, Twelve Years a Slave, Lincoln for the politics of slavery, and even Django Unchained was entertaining yet powerful in its own way. It is almost a guarantee for an Oscar nomination. When I heard about the film, The Birth of a Nation about Nat Turner’s rebellion, I was immediately intrigued. Over time I read about it in the history books about that rebellion, it was brief, but big enough to be in the history books. I was intrigued to see what really happened during that rebellion, and how impactful it was. The film was impactful, but some moments were powerful!!!
What I Like: I have to say that I am very impressed with what Nate Parker has done with this film. Not only did he star in it as Nat Turner, but he directed it, and co-wrote this story about the life of Turner as a slave turned leader. I never knew Parker had it in him to be so talented. I see a good future in him. The biggest and powerful part of this film is when Turner finally brings his people together to fight back against the slave owners who are mistreating them. That final battle was very bloody, but in a tasteful way showing the impact of Turner’s rebellion and inspiring fellow black men and former slaves to fight in the Civil War. The main theme is about inspiration to fight back, and in that regard it perfectly succeeded. I like how they developed the character of Nat Turner. How he learned to read, and became a preacher to his fellow people inspiring them about God. One of my favorite moments is when he was arguing with a white pastor and backing up his arguments with Bible verses to a point where the white pastor hit his boiling point. It showed how smart and dedicated he is, and how much of a leader he is. Even though I don’t believe in violence to stand up for something, this film will indict you to think about what choices do you really have, and how you execute it. The last scene where all the rebels were lynched, and you hear the song “Strange Fruit,” really gave me chills. Seeing Nat Turner’s death was artfully done well in giving that scene impact to watch and ponder over.
The So So: Yes the story is typical. For a film about slavery, unfortunately, it is clichéd seeing the protagonist get whipped. Or dealing with issues of female slaves being raped and taken advantage of. If you’re into history, you know what went down, during that time. With that said you can’t look me in the eye and say that those scenes are not emotional or powerfully gripping. I don’t know what it is about seeing someone get whipped, but it is more cringeworthy than seeing someone get shot by a gun. At least the film took a unique approach telling the story and adding emphasis to the story of Nat Turner’s Rebellion and why it is important in our history.
What I Didn’t Like: There were some very slow and dull moments developing the story before the climax of the rebellion. The beginning of the story did seem very rushed to get to the point of developing Nat Turner’s character. Lastly, Armie Hammer playing slaveowner Samuel Turner wasn’t impactful in showing the racism of slaveowners. I couldn’t take him seriously, and when he was killed, it didn’t give me any type of emotional satisfaction.
Overall: I thought this movie was a good film that will get Oscar buzz. I believe Nate Parker is showcasing his talents and will be heard again in the future, and his passion in making this film can inspire you to stand up and fight for what is right. Through the art of the movie, I felt his passion and inspiration. If it is not powerful for you, it will definitely impact you in some way. I can guarantee that!!!
Rating: 4 Stars
(Sidenote: Miracles from Heaven- This is a true Christian story about a family trying to keep their faith while their child is suffering from a terminal illness, and the miracle that followed. It does have the usual corniness in Christian films, and using Atlanta’s aquarium as the Boston aquarium is blasphemous to me. However, the message is very clear and you do get strong acting by Jennifer Garner. It is a feel good story for the whole family to watch!!!
Rating: 3 Stars)