“Harriet” did an incredible job of pulling you into the emotions of what it was to be a slave in the 17th century, pulling you down into the lowest points and bringing you up into what must have been indescribable joy to meet freedom. At every turn I felt a part of her story and engaged in her journey which is an important element in a well-done film. The relationships in this film and in Harriet’s story were important and as in most films embellishments and changes were made to make these feelings more empathetic in the viewer.
In this portrayal of Harriet Tubman’s life, it focuses on the beginning of her journey. The purpose of this adaptation was obviously to highlight the struggle and heartache that she endured. While trusting her deep connection with the lord she was able to choose a path the led not only herself but countless others to freedom. The relationships and bonds made along the way helped her through and paved the way for others like her.
Some of the relationships in the movie were merely there for the entertainment value, some were based on real people in Harriet’s life and others completely made up characters. Gideon Brodess, who plays the supposed grandson of plantation owner Edward Brodess, was in real life Jonathan Brodess, son of Eliza Brodess. With little known of Jonathan’s involvement in historical mentions his character was meant as an antagonist that represented the behaviors of his family.
Marie Buchanon was presented to Harriet in the movie as a beautiful free black woman. As this character was one of complete fiction, I believe she was important to the movie by pulling in viewers who could relate to her lavish and independent lifestyle. She represented the current state of society. Their relationship migrated from unfamiliar and obverse to a strong bond despite their differences.
One thing that I find curious are Harriet’s spells. In the movie they explain that she had a traumatic injury when she was younger being struck in the forehead by an overseer with a two-pound weight. There have been speculations that these spells could have been caused by Epilepsy or Narcolepsy. Whatever caused them Harriet believed that these spells were visions from God and used them as such and I think that her blind faith in the lord helped carry her through those horrendous times.
I really enjoyed the movie and it seems that there were enough historical truths to feel like I learned something. The cast was well put together and portrayed their characters, made up or real, with conviction. I would recommend the movie to anyone interested in learning about Harriet Tubman, a true female heroine ahead of her time.