207-Word Review of “Harriet”

Powerful drama, beautifully executed. And Cynthia Erivo is a true star. But…..What kind of genre movie would you call a film where a hero has powers and accomplishes a heaping of derring-do, is deeply connected to her villain, has a secret identity (that the villain finds out during the climax), has a secret-ish headquarters, has an ally/adviser, gains a young sidekick, has to deal with a loved one getting killed and has the hero make a big speech in front of the villain before not killing him? Exactly. Is this proper for a world-historic figure? Did Kasi Lemmings hedge her bets about a 21st century, post-modern audience, or is this origin story the proper tribute to an abolitionist who was by all accounts a true wonder woman? I have my own opinion about the appropriateness of this (let’s just say the irritated historian ate the geek along with the popcorn and Welsh’s Fruit Snacks), but I’ll let the reader/moviegoer decide this one. I hope other films on Tubman put her in the historical context she and other abolitionists deserve–her spy days, the full scene of her Civil War battle, her relationship with other abolitionists. If alladat feels like school in comparison, then so be it.

 

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