Biography Drama

The Long Road to Freedom: A TIFF Review of ‘Harriet’

September 15, 2019Britany Murphy

Many of us know about Harriet Tubman's heroic work on the Underground Railroad. However, until now, a feature film has never been made about the heroine and all that she did to help save hundreds of people.

Kasi Lemmons' biopic begins with Harriet (Cynthia Erivo) having one of her visions from God. She and her family are meant to be free, but even after she and her husband John (Zackary Momoh) hire a lawyer who proves this fact, Harriet is forced to stay on the plantation. Deciding to run and fearing that John's freedom will be revoked if they are caught, Harriet travels alone until she reaches William Still (Leslie Odom Jr.), an abolitionist who connects her with the Underground Railroad.

Choosing to focus on freedom and hope, instead of the pain of slavery, Harriet is an ode to an exceptional woman who risked her life on a quest to save others, despite the odds being stacked against her. With great performances by everyone in its cast, this is an important film which needs to be seen.

Harriet makes its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 5 min.

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