THE BIRTH OF A NATION – Rated R – 120 Minutes
Starring Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller and Aja Naomi King
Director/Writer/Actor Nate Parker brings to the big screen the true-life story of literate slave and preacher Nat Turner, and the uprising he orchestrates on behalf of “HIS PEOPLE”…the is THE BIRTH OF A NATION.
Sold into slavery as a young boy, Nat Turner (Nate Parker) is destined for greatness. When the wife of his owner, Elizabeth, (Penelope Ann Miller) realizes just how smart Nat truly is, she takes him under her wing, and teaches him to read “The Good Book”.
Studying those scriptures day in and day out, Nat learns to share the word of our Lord with his mother, grandmother and any other fellow slave who wants to listen…
Flash forward to a disparaging time for the newly designated patriarch of the family, Samuel (Armie Hammer), after the death of his father, as he is forced to come up with a way to save his families way of life, and their plantation. Alas, the other plantation owners in the area, realizing that their insubordinate slaves will listen to one of their own, request the services of Preacher Nat, in exchange for payment to Samuel for Nat’s services.
Recognizing that Nat has truly become his cash cow to change things around through this process, Samuel has Nat traveling from plantation to plantation, spreading the word of our Lord, but only in the way the owner’s approve, as his ultimate goal must be to get their slaves in line! As these visits seem to increase weekly, Nat must face the harsh reality that is not only defiling the Lord’s word through his work, but he is dishonoring his own people through this process too…
As he is forced to “turn the other cheek” time and time again, even after his wife is brutally assaulted. Nat turns to his Faith in God and the strength of his fellow man as he stages an uprising against anyone who has done them wrong, as these men must answer with their lives for the atrocities that they have procreated, upon the helpless within their grasp…
I give THE BIRTH OF A NATION a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN ~ Parker’s performance, story-telling abilities and direction are impeccable as he shares Nat Turner’s lifelong struggles, and beliefs throughout this film. I won’t be surprised if come awards season, Parker is not only nominated, but in more than one category too. Hammer’s performance is top notch as well, playing plantation owner/friend and subsequent betrayer of Nat. One of the most significant and fabulous performances in this film for me came from Aja Naomi King, as her portrayal brought incredibly feeling and depth to this film from the minute she shows up on screen. And Miller’s performance is better than average too, even though she isn’t given much screen time. And please heed the R rating of this film, even if your children enjoy history and are wanting to view this film, as it’s graphically violent nature may be too violent for viewers under 15. From the first frame of this film, to it’s last, Parker manages to bring to life the story of this brave and courageous man’s life, proving that if you know your destiny, as Nat did, there is no better way to achieve live it out, than on behalf of your fellow man.