Harriet (2019) Review

harriet

RATING: 3/5

[SPOILERS]

Slave turned abolitionist, Harriet Tubman, fights for her life as she makes journies back and forth to save the many enslaved folk from the white man’s grasp.

After many years, there is finally a feature film based on one of the most famous historical black figures in U.S history.

Performances in the film were good. Cynthia Erivo did a well-done job at portraying Tubman. One definitely believed the pain and struggles that she went through when traveling up North. For that, one was with her till the end of the film. Her development was fine at showing where she came from and how she transformed into a strong, capable woman.

The emotions delivered from the film could be tense and heartfelt. While watching this, Tubman needed to be appreciated more for the long journey that she endured for each trip she made to the South.

There were times where the cinematography was nice enough to give some cool shots. For example, when there was a wide shot and Tubman was in the middle simply appreciating her freedom.

In terms of music, it was alright. It was orchestral which was cool, but all in all, it was kind of bland. At some points, it seemed like it was a distraction. For like the film wanted to milk out as much emotion as possible. A film can’t rely on just music to get an emotion. There needed to be quieter scenes.

One of the more questionable/ridiculous aspects was psychic Tubman. Now I understand what it was doing. Tubman was relying on God to guide her the way. In that time period, praying was the main way of figuring out how to fix one’s life. One would have to rely on faith. But how it was executed was hokey. There would be points where Tubman would pray to God for answers. Either God was actually telling her or Tubman was psychic because how in the world did she know there was an alternate route to the North. How did show the antagonists were nearby toward the end? How did she know that there would be a bunch of slaves running down to the Combahee River?

Along with the psychic scenes, there would be flashes of Tubman’s past life and the future. Now doing research, it does state that Tubman did get premonitions from God due to a head injury in her childhood. Now, this was a tragic event that happened, not denying that or the premonitions. If the visions were real, that’s cool. But how it was played out in the movie made me scratch in my head.

For the first major film on Tubman, it seemed like the filmmakers were mainly wanting to focus on the broader things on her life during the Underground Railroad days, instead of diving deep. Which was fine, though I wish it would have gotten more in-depth in those situations.

“Harriet,” is a nice first attempt at bringing this figure onto the big screen. It has a really good main lead, good performances, delivers some heartfelt emotion, and showcases a few nice shots. Even with psychic Tubman and the broad scope of the story, this is a movie still worth checking out.

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