Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Harriet – Sincere Tribute to the Real-Life Freedom Fighter Harriet Tubman

Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Harriet is a sincere tribute to the real-life freedom fighter. Excellent performances and a developed story add layers of entertainment. Anyone interested in documentaries or the subject material must watch this.”  Eva W. adds, “There are a lot of good things to take away from this movie. After seeing this film, I have a very different perspective of Harriet Tubman.  I learned that she was a very strong woman. “ See their full reviews below.

Harriet
By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Harriet is a sincere tribute to the real-life freedom fighter. Excellent performances and a developed story add layers of entertainment. Anyone interested in documentaries or the subject material must watch this.

Cynthia Erivo stars as Harriet Tubman in HARRIET, a Focus Features release. Credit: Glen Wilson / Focus Features

The story tells the heroic tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s most influential figures. The film recounts how her courage and intelligence freed hundreds of slaves and changed history as we know it.

Cynthia Erivo, as Harriet Tubman, brings out something award-worthy. This actress of Broadway fame launches her star potential to greater heights as she perfectly captures Tubman’s appearance on top of her distinguishing characteristics. The film is truly a vehicle for Cynthia’s many talents. Other cast members include Leslie Odom Jr. as William Still and Janelle Monae as Marie. While Odom Jr.’s role is relatively one-note as someone Tubman sends runaways to, Monae adds heart to Marie as she settles Tubman for city life. As the film progresses, a heartbreaking scene sticks its landing due to the dynamic between the two.

Zackary Momoh stars as John and Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman in HARRIET, a Focus Features release. Credit: Glen Wilson / Focus Features

Kasi Lemmons aptly directs, as the story is told chronologically. However, the cinematography does leave a little bit more to be desired, as it lacks nuance and something of interest, during extended dialogue-heavy scenes. Due to this, I felt the runtime and was left desiring the thrilling rescues that follow. It is worth mentioning that you must be interested in American history, or else you will truly remain bored during its two-hour runtime. My favorite scene is Tubman’s first escape, because a thrilling scene follows where Tubman jumps downstream into the river rather than get captured. It is truly a testament to Tubman’s courage and agility.

The message of this film is that Tubman always stands for justice and treats even her opponents fairly; really everything Tubman stands for speaks truth in heroic qualities. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 due to violence, thematic content and language, including racial slurs. The movie releases in theaters on November 1, 2019, so check it out.

Harriet
By Eva W. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 10

There are a lot of good things to take away from this movie. After seeing this film, I have a very different perspective of Harriet Tubman.  I learned that she was a very strong woman. 

Cynthia Erivo stars as Harriet Tubman in HARRIET, a Focus Features release. Credit: Glen Wilson / Focus Features

The storyline is about Harriet Tubman’s amazing journey in leading slaves to freedom and how she fought for what she believed in. Harriet Tubman’s real name was Araminta Ross; she chose her new name to symbolize her freedom. Harriet had a very strong belief in God and used that to guide her. She walked 100 miles to reach freedom and made 13 trips getting other slaves to freedom. She freed 70 slaves and traveled 1,300 miles total. The bad guys called her ‘Moses the slave stealer,’ but she was doing the right thing.

Cynthia Erivo stars as Harriet Tubman in HARRIET, a Focus Features release. Credit: Glen Wilson / Focus Features

This film is very well made. Everything looks very realistic and the actors truly embody their characters. Harriet takes place at a farm starting in 1840. The woman who becomes Harriet Tubman began her life as a slave at the Thompson plantation in Maryland. The movie retells the events of her life very accurately. Cynthia Erivo, who gives a wonderful performance, plays Harriet Tubman. Joe Alwyn plays her master, Gideon, who’s portrayal of the bad guy really made me hate him. Janelle Monae plays Marie, a very good friend of Harriet’s. Leslie Odom Jr. plays William Still, who helps Harriet find a home and a job when she gets to freedom.

I give Harriet 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this film for ages 14 to 18, because it has a lot of very violent scenes, including some where people are killed. It also shows how horrible slavery actually was. Some of these scenes are heartbreaking and very difficult to watch. There is also a lot of racially offensive language.

Harriet comes out in theaters November 1, 2019 so be sure to look for it!

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