After impressing in her first two films, ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ and ‘Widows’, Broadway sensation turned movie star Cynthia Ervio returns to the big screen in new historical biopic, ‘Harriet’. She plays Harriet Tubman, a young woman born into slavery, initially known as “Minty”, until she escapes and makes it her mission to free as many others from slavery too.
This film’s strength, well one of them, lies in the amazing truth of its narrative. Harriet Tubman was an inspirational woman, and she did so much for so many people. ‘Harriet’ consistently demonstrates this and succeeds in being a worthy tribute to this woman. The film will also prove to be an essential history lesson for many audiences as it would be naive to think that everyone already knows her story, they should though so it’s excellent that it is being told again and will live on forever in the form of this film. Whilst the film’s narrative could have ended up being somewhat repetitive this is never the case. Tubman’s time as an abolitionist is told in a simultaneously thrilling, emotional and powerful fashion and as a result the film’s two hour running time flies in.
As previously mentioned Cynthia Erivo has already made a huge impact in the massive ensemble casts she’s featured in before but here she is front and centre at all times. However impressive her performance is though it never takes the spotlight away from Tubman and she always feels like she’s paying tribute to her rather than overshadowing her, a fine balance to find but one that Erivo does exquisitely. There’s one element to her character here that never feels fully developed or properly handled though and at times it takes away rather than contributes to the telling of her story. However, this is a minor issue that doesn’t significantly detract from the overall quality of the picture. Furthermore, with her work here Erivo has now a trio of excellent, versatile and mature film performances under her belt and will make any future productions worth a watch.
‘Harriet’ tells Tubman’s extraordinary true story with power, purpose and respect. The film honours her by educating audiences about her fight against slavery and showcasing her strength as a woman, daughter and sister. Erivo ensures that her legendary leadership will never be forgotten thanks to her stirring performance that pays tribute to her at every turn. Ultimately, ‘Harriet’ reminds us of a shameful past but the wonderful human spirit that can emerge even when facing the harshest and most despicable of adversaries.
Written by Hamish Calvert
STAR RATING –★★★★
Question: How would you rank Cynthia Erivo’s first three films ?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
Thanks for reading this review and please let us know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop us a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.
Thanks to Movie House Cinemas for screening access