On Wednesday, I screened Harriet, starring Cynthia Erivo and Leslie Odom, Jr.
Minty Ross (Erivo) was a headstrong slave in Maryland who yearned for her freedom. She decided that she would risk anything to achieve that liberty, so in 1849 she left her husband, parents and siblings behind to walk alone nearly 90 miles to reach the safety of Pennsylvania. Minty Ross would transform into Harriet Tubman.
In this film chronicling her journey and what happened beyond her arrival, we learn just how awful the family was who owned hers; how she couldn't rest until she went back for her family and so many others (she did, successfully) and how she believed the visions she saw were coming directly from God.
Cynthia Erivo is painfully convincing as this tortured soul who finds the strength not only to free slaves but to continue the fight for justice in many more ways, during the war and later during the women's suffrage movement. As an American child, I studied Mrs. Tubman, but never knew the raw details of what she actually faced.
The film is brutal during several scenes, but never gratuitous—if ever there was a time where we needed to see the effects of the violence of racism, that time is now.
Go see this film and rejoice on Oscar night when it deservingly wins some major awards.