Black History Month 2022 – Year 12 Film Reviews

To celebrate Black History Month October 2022, our Lower Sixth IB History students have reviewed different films that cover topics such as the US Civil War and Civil Rights.  Some will be highlighted in this blog post.  Please return to this blog to read the latest film review, as they will be added throughout the month of October.

Film Review Hidden Figures by Sinah, 17 October 2022

The Film Hidden Figures is about three women, named Katherine, Mary and Dorothy, working for NASA.  Unfortunately, the colour of their skin plays a very important role because it is not like the skin colour of the others.  They are black and that is why the three are treated differently than all the white people who they work with.  Since the three are black, their work is not valued as much as the work of the white ones and the boss does not really trust Katherine and doubts her and her achievements until it turns out that she achieves better work results and is better in mathematics than anyone else who works there.  In the end it turns out that without the help from the three, nothing would have worked like it should have.

In the film, a lot of importance was placed on how black women were treated differently a few years ago.  That they had to walk several miles to go to the toilet or that, for example, a different coffee cup was set up so that black people wouldn’t come up with the idea to use the white.  My personal opinion on the film is that I really liked it and the story about it because it shows how black women were treated differently not just because they were women but also because of their skin colour.  I would recommend everyone to watch this movie if you are interested in gender and racial equality.

I would give the film 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Sinah Fabig (Year 12)

Film Review 12 Years a Slave by Fatoumatta, 10 October 2022

The movie is about a free-born black man called Solomon Northup, who is well-known for playing the violin.  For the sake of earning for the family, he got abducted from New York and sold into slavery.  As the title suggests, he is granted justice and sees his family after 12 years of being a slave.

The brutality at the beginning of the movie where Northup’s back is piled with bruises relates to a famous slavery photo called ‘whipped peter’, which clearly shows the movie’s accuracy of how slave owners seriously maltreated slaves.  Moreover, the term ‘Negro’ offers the movie’s accuracy of black discrimination back in the day.  Likewise, the movie was accurate about Northup not revealing to any white person about him being educated.  This is true because during the era of the Ku Klux Klan, black people were killed for having newspapers and books in their houses or for being politicians.  Also, the movie vividly shows how slaves seized every opportunity they had just to escape, as we see how Northup tries to run when he was sent by Mrs. Epps.

One of the reasons why I enjoyed the movie was because as a black person, it makes me aware of how it was a crime to be born black during the slavery period and how the movie makes me feel different emotions as the main actor tries all means to reconcile with his family.  In conclusion, I will give the movie a 4 out of 5 because of excess nudity.

Fatoumatta Jabbie (Year 12)


Film Review Harriet by Will, 6 October 2022

Harriet begins with a dramatic opening sequence, set in a Southern plantation in the United States where an enslaved person by the name of Minty makes a daring escape from the dire conditions.  She proceeds to flee the state and connects with members of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery society, who together help to organise the underground railroad, a smuggling operation by which slaves could escape from the South, to the Northern states where slavery had been outlawed.

In the North Minty creates a new identity: Harriet Tubman, and begins to live her life as a free woman; however a deadly blow is struck to the operation.  The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 makes it so that any slave who escapes from the South to the North must be returned to their ‘owner’ by law, even if a Northerner doesn’t wish to return them.  For this reason, Harriet and others flee to Canada, outside the jurisdiction of the US Federal Government where they believe they will be safe.

A number of years later in 1863, two years into the Civil War, Harriet leads a raid into the Confederate States, freeing close to a thousand slaves before returning to Canada and living the rest of her life as a free person.  The film is based on historical events and I found it quite interesting, as well as educational: showing the abhorrent conditions of slavery at the time which links well with our current IB History topics of the US Civil War, and Civil Rights.  I would give the movie 3.8 stars as while it is intriguing and mostly historically accurate, it is in places unengaging and mundane.

Will Cooney (Year 12)



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