One of the year's best movies and the odds-on favorite for the Best Picture Oscar finally arrives in Utah.
The drama "12 Years a Slave" deserves all the hype and accolades being piled on it. It's an unflinching, beautifully crafted and emotionally direct look at one of the darkest periods of American history: The pre-Civil War era, where slavery was legal in the South. Director Steve McQueen ("Shame," "Hunger") and screenwriter John Ridley ("Red Tails," "Three Kings") tell the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man in upstate New York who, in 1841, was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana. Northup, brilliantly played by the British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, tries to survive the brutality and mercurial moods of his captors, as he watches for a chance at freedom. This movie is sometimes hard to take, but impossible to dismiss.
Another critically acclaimed movie arriving this week is the French lesbian drama "Blue Is the Warmest Color," winner of the Palme D'Or at Cannes this year. Director Abdellatif Kechiche's raw drama follows several years in the life of Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), from coltish teen to mature adult, most of it in a passionate relationship with Emma (Léa Seydoux), a soulful artist. The romance includes some explicit sex scenes that earn the film an NC-17 rating. But beyond the titillation factor, the movie is a deeply felt and amazingly acted look at a relationship's rise and fall.