Before Superman, the Flash, and Captain Marvel, there was real-life hero Harriet Tubman. The biopic Harriet, directed by Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou), plunges into drama right away, showing a young Harriet (then known as Minty), her freeman husband, John, and extended family receiving a resounding “no” after pleading for Harriet’s freedom with her master. Slave owner Edward Brodess swiftly resolves to sell Minty away from his plantation—and her family—despite his son Gideon’s initial affinity for her.
Minty decides running is better than being sold from Dorchester County, Maryland, to a plantation farther south. Throughout her journey to the free north, she’s overcome by “sleeping spells” (the tragic outcome of a slave master beating her as a teen) in which she sees her sister, who was sold away from her family, and scenes of looming plantations that allude to her knowledge of the future. These are the moments where God talks to Harriet, as the slave emancipator herself believed, and informs her of the best next steps in her escape.
Read the full review in the Chicago Reader.