Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Haunted by memories of those she left behind, Harriet (Cynthia Erivo) ventures back into dangerous territory on a mission to lead others to freedom. With allies like abolitionist William Still (Leslie Odom, Jr.) and the entrepreneurial Marie Buchanon (Janelle Monae), Harriet risks capture and death to guide hundreds to safety as one of the most prominent conductors of the Underground Railroad. Witness the story of a woman who defied impossible odds to change the course of her life and the fate of the nation.
The movie is based on the true story of one of America’s greatest heroes Harriet Tubman who rescued 70 slaves. It takes some cinematic liberties and creates some fictional characters. This link here talks about the differences between the real Harriet and the movie.
Some scenes are very good like the one where Harriet’s owner refuses to free them or the scene where Harriet escapes or the scenes where she returns to rescue more slaves or the scene where Gideon threatens Harriet’s sister.
There are a couple of scenes in the beginning of the movie where Harriet and her family members are almost singing to each other which looked corny. The scene where Harriet just watches Janelle being brutally attacked instead of intervening despite having a gun did not make sense. The movie unfortunately has a made for TV movie feel.
Cynthia Erivo is excellent as Harriet Tubman and has been deservedly nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. Leslie Odom Jr. is good as William Still, a writer and abolitionist in Philadelphia. Joe Alwyn is very good as Gideon, the fictional slave owner. Janelle Monáe looked pretty and is good as Marie Buchanon, a boarding-house proprietor in Philadelphia. Jennifer Nettles is very good as Eliza, Gideon’s mother. Clarke Peters is good as Ben Ross, Harriet’s father.
Harriet Tubman deserved a better movie than this but it is still worth a watch because it is a story of one of America’s greatest heroes.