Here’s What Happened After A Second Viewing Of ’12 Years A Slave’

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Steve McQueen’s “12 Years A Slave” was one of 2013’s most written about films, which is why I’m ready to write about it here in 2014.

During a recent chat with Ricky Camilleri and VanityFair.com Hollywood editor Katey Rich on HuffPost Live, I was taken to task for not having “12 Years A Slave” on my top-10 list. (I had it ranked No. 16 overall, just behind other near misses: “Her,” “Blue Jasmine,” “20 Feet From Stardom,” “The Spectacular Now” and “Inside Llewyn Davis.”) My rationale was this: Last year was a particularly strong one for feature films, and I just didn’t connect with “12 Years A Slave” enough to place it above those other movies.

Then I watched “12 Years A Slave” a second time.

This film is a truly great achievement, not just because it’s an important social document (which it is), but because it’s just really, really good. McQueen’s great strength as a filmmaker is that he makes everything look so darn easy. There’s an effortless quality to “12 Years A Slave” that many other films — about much less serious matters — would be lucky to have. Few 2013 features felt as alive as “12 Years A Slave.”

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