Amazing, heart wrenching, and historical story


Fair use from Apple TV+

Roberto Alvarez

Last night I watched “Emancipation.” I thought this was a very good movie and was well portrayed. It had great camera work and quality filmmaking. The backdrop of this film is during the Civil War and focuses on the experiences of an enslaved man. This movie was inspired by the true story of an enslaved man named Gordon and his fight to become a free man during the Civil War. This film was directed by Antoine Fuqua and features Will Smith as Peter, a runaway slave. There is a cast of supporting actors in the roles of slaves, union soldiers, and confederates. Still, the majority of this film is about Peter as he goes through an immense amount of pain and suffering throughout his journey heading to a military base. 

We see Peter, a slave who has just been taken from his family and moved to  Louisiana to help build railroads for the Confederacy. Peter is being used, in the company of countless other slaves, to help fortify defenses for the Confederates during the Civil War. When he realizes from rumors that northern troops are stationed in Baton Rouge, just five miles from where they are, he needs to find a way to get there, so he can then become free. When the right time comes he takes his chance and flees from the work camp and makes the gruesome, horrific journey to get to the Union soldiers’ encampment. Throughout his journey, Peter is being hunted by Confederate soldiers and has to withstand rough terrain, injury and starvation to get to freedom. 

I didn’t see any new trailers for this movie, mostly because this movie is exclusive to Apple TV+, which might make it harder for people to be able to access it. The movie showed the harsh realities of what being a slave was like. It was tough to watch because of the violence and what was done to enslaved people, but that harsh reality is also what I liked about this movie because these are the realities of American history that we have to remember. It also made the movie more realistic and authentic. It made you really think about what the conditions were like for these people. This movie is also different from many other films in that we don’t see much dialogue. It forces the viewer to feel the terror Peter feels, and dialogue would have distracted from that tension. 

It’s kinda surprising to see Will Smith in a movie like this, especially because he hasn’t been in serious or dramatic movies. The fact that he isn’t talking that much during the movie adds to the drama. There’s barely any dialogue, though we hear sentences here and there and more dialogue during the end. Throughout the majority of the movie, its intense action and movement. We mostly see Will Smith in movies where we do see more dialogue and talking from him. This movie just shows that he doesn’t need dialogue to be a good actor and perform well in this movie specifically.

This is a movie I would highly recommend. I really liked this movie. It was very intense and dramatic, which held my attention throughout the story. It’s very high quality and sends a message about our history that everyone should pay attention to. I don’t think this is a movie that I would rewatch again because of the subject matter. 


“Emancipation:” ★★★★☆