First Glance: “Harriet”


A biography of abolitionist Harriet Tubman has been in the works for several years and for good reason. It’s one of several stories from America’s history that is both incredible and inspiring. We’re finally getting one just in time for an already crowded Awards Season.

The first trailer for “Harriet” has dropped and it looks to be covering a lot of intriguing ground. It starts with Tubman’s escape from slavery before showing the organization of the Underground Railroad and the daring rescue missions to lead slaves to freedom. Cynthia Erivo is an exciting choice to play Tubman but no one else in the cast really captures your attention. Still there is potential here for a really good biopic. Hopefully it won’t have Hollywood’s fingerprints all over it.

“Harriet” releases November 1st. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

15 thoughts on “First Glance: “Harriet”

  1. I think this looks interesting. I don’t understand why people are so upset over Cynthia Erivo being cast as Tubman because she isn’t American (which I never knew and surprised by in a good way).

  2. My expectations aren’t that high, honestly. I think this could be more Hollywoodized than needed. But Erivo will probably make this movie at least good from Tubman’s perspective and I think they nailed the casting.

  3. It looks a fascinating story, and I think it’s a positive thing to see a slavery film focused on resistance rather than suffering: it’s valuable to shows life honestly but not to risk the leaning into exploitation that’s possible with depersonalised depictions of ongoing pain. I’m concerned about it potentially being too Hollywood as you’ve mentioned – the trailer suggested a little lack of nuance in its acting and too much a distance from the lead – but it seems like it’ll be informative and perhaps even encouraging regardless

    • Great point – “a slavery film focused on resistance rather than suffering”. I think that is spot-on. And while it probably can’t avoid some depictions of suffering, her story of resistance and resilience should certainly be the main focus.

      • Thanks Keith, and let’s hope indeed that it is the main focus as the trailer suggests! I’ll definitely be interested to see this upon its release and find out the approach taken with the story

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