I saw the preview of Harriet but totally missed when it was released in 2019. We saw the film the other day and it was excellent! What I expected to be a revisionist history film was one of the most accurate “based on a true story” films I have seen.
Harriet Tubman (expertly portrayed by Cynthia Erivo) was one hell of a woman. I am grateful to the filmmakers for teaching me so much more about her life than I ever learned in school. Expecting much of it to be exaggerated for the film, I was surprised to learn that not only did she live up to everything portrayed in the film but much more.
Here is just a sampling of her accomplishments:
- She was born into slavery
- She suffered a traumatic head injury as a youth and was given to “visions” that guided her decisions throughout her life
- The 5’2″ slave escaped right under the noses of her captors by doing things like pretending to read a newspaper when someone came by (she was known to be illiterate so they figured it couldn’t be her)
- She joined the Union Army as a nurse during the Civil War
- She later operated as a scout and a spy in the Union Army
- She played a large role in the Raid on Combahee Ferry in which the Union Army freed over 700 slaves
- Tubman founded an old folks home where she would later spend her final years
- She was buried with full military honors
Her spirit, boldness and determination are told very well in the film. In fact, there were several good performances.
Sure, the film took some minor liberties but they do not take away from the truth of the film.
by Chris Doelle
Rating 8 of 10