In a movie industry that is so focused on superheroes, it's nice to remember from time to time that actual heroes have existed among us. Reminding us of this seems to the goal of Harriet, an upcoming biopic that tells the story of Harriet Tubman, the slave who escaped to freedom, and then brought others with her via the Underground Railroad. Check out Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman in the trailer below.
It truly is an inspirational story. Harriet Tubman escaped slavery by herself and then risked everything to free others as well, returning to the pre-Civil War south multiple times. It's the sort of story that they should make movie about, and, now they finally have.
Cynthia Erivo is a fairly new face on the movie scene but she's already making waves in Hollywood. She had a fantastic role in underrated ensemble movie Bad Times at the El Royale and now she's leading a story that has "awards season" written all over it. One gets the distinct impression that she's going to become an even bigger name after Harriet. Even in this brief trailer there's a clear strength in Erivo's performance.
Historical biopics of exceptional people are common fodder for awards season movies, and clearly that's what Harriet has in mind. It's easy to be cynical about it, but at the end of the day if the movie is good then it really doesn't matter. These are the sorts of movies that tend to reach people at an emotional level and that's why we see them at the Oscars year after year. The fact that the events of the story really happened only makes that connection to people easier to make.
Of course, we'll have to wait and see the finished product to know just how close to the true story Harriet will be. Liberties are always taken with true stories. Although, in the case of Harriet Tubman, it's not like much needs to be created to make the story compelling.
The woman led an impressive life and lived to be 90 years old. It appears that the film Harriet will be dealing exclusively with the early portion of her life, but there's actually a lot more to her story if the movie has time for it. We do see her armed alongside soldiers, which implies the film will follow her into her time in the Civil War.
In addition to Cynthia Erivo, Harriet also co-stars Leslie Odom Jr. and Janelle Monae. The film is co-written and directed by Kasi Lemmons, previously of Eve's Bayou and Talk to Me. There's an impressive amount of talent both in front of and behind the camera. If the movie turns out as well as the people involved are capable of producing, we certainly could see a major awards contender.
Harriet is set to open in theaters November 1.