Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (A-) is a harrowing true story told masterfully. Journeyman actor Chiwetel Ejiofor creates the role of a lifetime as a free man kidnapped in 1841 into a life as a Southern slave. Gorgeously art directed and unflinching in its brutality, the film earns its emotions and is gripping throughout. You’ll be challenged constantly about the dehumanizing system that plagued much of our country’s history and ultimately inspired by a courageous character. After Fruitvale Station and The Butler, this is another provocative and deservingly acclaimed work about race relations that demands to be seen.